LANSING — A hotline is available for high school students to get information about various facets of college during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan College Access Network and its partners launched a statewide college advising hotline recently to answer questions high school students have about attending college. The hotline was initiated as a result of the current pandemic and aims to fill the gaps created from the statewide school closure order issued in March.

The hotline is available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is staffed by nearly 100 college advisers connected to MCAN’s AdviseMI program and MSU’s College Advising Corps. The hotline can be reached by calling 810-373-5385.

“We are excited to launch this hotline (on May 4) to support students and families needing college advising due to the school closure for COVID-19,‘ MCAN Executive Director Ryan Fewins-Bliss said. “While trained and passionate school counselors remain the gold standard of college advising, we know they are being called to innovate, problem-solve, and mobilize like never before. We are proud to provide this free service as part of MCAN’s response to the coronavirus crisis.‘

MCAN Director of Strategic Engagement Christopher Tremblay said the college advisors can help all students in grades 9-12 no matter what stage of planning they are at. That means they can help students who have been accepted and need guidance on the next steps as well as students who are just beginning to explore and research colleges, according to Tremblay.

Examples of how advisors can help include college admissions applications, navigating financial aid, comparing financial aid offers, navigating paying for college during the pandemic, and finalizing college enrollments.

Tremblay also said the state of Texas has reached out to MCAN after the hotline went live to learn more about it, including how it was launched. Trembly said other states, like Texas, are considering doing something similar.

Students will have the option of calling or texting the hotline. After business hours, students can text or leave a voicemail, and messages will be responded to the next business day. The hours of the hotline will be adjusted as necessary to best serve students and their needs.

The college advisers staffing the hotline also will complement the work of school counselors throughout the state and provide advising services to districts where school counselors don’t exist. The hotline is designed to provide an added layer of support to schools, students, and families. All advisers are well-trained and most are volunteering a year of national service with AmeriCorps.

For more information about MCAN or the hotline go to micollegehelp.com, which redirects to the MCAN webpage with info about the hotline. 

Cadillac News