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Initiatives and Resources

Since it's creation in 2011, the Michigan Center for Student Success has led nearly 20 initiatives with 28 community colleges across Michigan and our partners and funders.  Selected initiatives and resources are available below. In addition to the projects outlined below, the MCSS has been involved in Accelerated Learning Program, Benefits Access for College Completion, Career and College Readiness Partnership, Consortium of Michigan Veteran Educators, Credentials that Work, Credit When It's Due, Degree Qualifications Profile, Gateways to Completion, and Project Win-Win.
Materials from recent events are available on our Events page.  View past events and filter events by the Michigan Center for Student Success.  

Guided Pathways

Guided Pathways logo

An overwhelming number of programmatic choices coupled with poorly aligned support systems present significant challenges to students as they attempt to get on and stay on a clear path toward a credential. Building on the work of notable national initiatives, Michigan colleges have worked to tackle institution-wide structural issues the serve as obstacles to student success.

MCSS is supporting 26 community colleges in their efforts to implement Guided Pathways reforms at scale including institutes to convene colleges around the guided pathways principles; the self-assessment colleges will use to gauge the adoption of Guided Pathways practices, a coaching program and ongoing technical assistance from a team of national experts.  Resources from Guided Pathways Institutes are available on the website. website


Michigan Transfer Network

The MCSS led a statewide initiative to replace the Michigan Transfer Network which is Michigan's statewide course equivalency database.  The new website at allows students to view course equivalencies, understand the Michigan Transfer Network, review articulation agreements and transfer guides, and find dozens of transfer resources from Michigan's colleges and universities.  The MCSS is the fiscal agent and project lead for a $1 million state appropriation that funded this and other work.  This new site and related work have served as the foundation for the Center's deep engagement in improving transfer student outcomes. 


MiTransfer Pathways

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Signature Report 13, Michigan lags behind our peers in the percentage of students who have earned an associate degree before transferring or students who have earned a degree within six years.

transfer student outcomes after six years
Source:  Adapted from National Student Clearinghouse

MiTransfer Pathways

The MCSS is leading a statewide initiative to build multi-institutional associate to bachelor's degree transfer pathways in some of the largest majors in Michigan.  This work began in 2018 and will continue through 2020 in three phases across 12 programs.  

Faculty from these 12 programs convened to identify the common courses that are required or recommended in the first and second year.  This historic engagement across colleges and universities continues to improve relationships between institutions, a renewed focus on student success, and a clearer understanding of the choices available to students.  The project website at provides more information about this work.  

Degrees When Due

Approximately one million working adults in Michigan have earned some college credit or a credential but never earned a degree.  Some of these adults have earned college credit at Michigan's community colleges and are close to earning a degree.  

 In 2018, Michigan joined the inaugural cohort of states participating in Degrees When Due, a completion and equity initiative housed at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP).  The initiative includes 15 community colleges focused on re-engaging adults with "some college and no degree."  In Michigan, there are over 1 million adults who have earned some college credit but never earned a degree.  In Spring 2019, the 11 participating colleges reached out to thousands of former students who earned all of the requirements but never claimed an associate degree.  Michigan will launch a second cohort in Fall 2019 with four additional colleges participating in this important adult reengagement initiative.  



Right Math at the Right Time

Right Math logo


In early 2016, the Michigan Community College Association and the Michigan Association of State Universities, in partnership with the Charles A. Dana Center’s Math Pathways to Completion project, established the Right Math at the Right Time (RM@RT) Task Force to strengthen the implementation of math pathways across Michigan’s two- and four-year post-secondary institutions.

Math Pathways to Completion (MPC), sponsored by the Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin, uses a strategy of organizing a state-level math task force to establish a vision for math pathways in that state.  The goal is to dramatically improve the success of students in developmental and gateway mathematics courses by implementing math pathways at scale. Our website, shares information about the project, publications, resources, and news. website


Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA)


vfa logo

The Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA) is the first comprehensive national accountability system created by community colleges, for community colleges. Community college leaders—facilitated by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)—conceived, developed, and pilot-tested the VFA metrics. 24 Michigan community colleges are participating in and will leverage the VFA to better understand how their students are performing both individually and collectively.

Through participation with the VFA, Michigan community colleges are tracking metrics in three areas:

Student Progress and Outcomes

  • Developmental Education Progress Measures
  • One- and Two-Year Progress Measures
  • Six-Year Outcomes Measures

Workforce, Economic, and Community Development

  • Career and Technical Education Measures
  • Non-Credit Workforce Courses
  • Adult Basic Education.GED

Student Learning Outcomes

The MCSS has worked closely with the VFA team at AACC to analyze data to benefit our projects and learn about our progress.  Additional information about the VFA and Community College Measures of Effectiveness are available from AACC.

VFA information