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Michigan community colleges looking to eliminate barriers for students

Community colleges across the state are starting the new year with a new program to help relieve economic instability among students. 

Officials said access to basic needs like food, housing and transportation are issues that can affect student success and even student retention. 

The Michigan Building Economic Stability Today (MI-Best) initiative has $442,000 in grant funding to help eliminate barriers for students.

The Michigan Community College Association created the initiative. The association's executive director of the Michigan Center for Student Success, Erica Orians, said the program will build upon services currently in place across nearly 30 community colleges across the state. 

“If you visit one of our campuses you will likely see a food pantry or opportunities to access food and you might see community based organizations that are connecting with the college campus to provide services to the campus,” Orians said. 

Orians added that when the program kicks off in January, colleges will determine what programs they can build out to better support their students’ specific needs and help them before it starts to affect their education.