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MSU admissions and 4-H partner to boost college enrollment for rural students

Michigan State University

Michigan State University’s admissions office is working with the school's 4-H program to expand access to higher education for rural students.

Even though rural Michigan is home to 21 universities, many rural residents have limited access to post-secondary education according to data from the state’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunities.

To expand access for students and their families, MSU’s 4-H program is now working with the university’s admission team. The 4-H program has a presence in all 83 counties in the state providing learning opportunities for thousands of young people.

“As a university with land-grant roots, we continue to prioritize recruitment activities in rural areas,” said Tania Kurzawa, senior admissions counselor and manager of recruitment in the Upper Peninsula and northeast lower Michigan.

The partnership between 4-H and the Office of Admissions aims to build a pipeline to help students access postsecondary education. Part of the work will include the admissions team joining the development program for events.

“4-H has a tendency to be involved in lots of county fairs and festivals and community events, which are opportunities where admission staff may be able to be alongside of us,” said Debra Barrett, MSU Extension senior educator for career exploration and workforce development.

The partnership is meant to bypass obstacles like lack of transportation and internet access which state labor officials say can hinder rural students’ connections to higher education.

“Part of the admissions staff’s strategy is encouraging rural youth to consider continuing their education at Michigan State,” Barrett said. “In 4-H, our goal is to help young people prepare for their future by considering ongoing education, whether that’s a four-year institution or another type of postsecondary education."

The 4-H team and MSU’s Office of Admission will also focus on gathering data on the number of rural students who end up pursing higher education opportunities at MSU.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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