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The Michigan Early Middle College Association (MEMCA) is a voluntary alliance of educators actively involved with one, or more, of the Early Middle Colleges working toward significantly increasing the collegiate and post-secondary success and completion rate of Michigan youth. The group comes together to share best practices, develop a community of learners and reflective practitioners, and share research with the broad high school transformation community.


"High level institutional collaboration can result in more students taking college level classes when they are ready, some as early as the tenth grade, shrinking the time to college graduation and saving families and states money. Instead of investing in a new set of tests that align with the Common Core to measure college readiness, we should invest in high school-college collaborations that lead to increased dual enrollment for all students.”

-Cecilia Cunningham, Executive Director, Middle College National Consortium


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EMCs are designed to offer students the opportunity to take college courses and earn college credits while still enrolled in high school, at no cost to them or their families (Michigan Department of Education [MDE], 2021b).


EMCs in Michigan are guided by a set of core design principles that ensure high-quality program implementation and achievement of positive student outcomes. The design principles include: a college-focused academic program, academic and social/emotional support for students, high school-college collaboration, and a culture of continuous improvement. Embedded in the EMC model are rigorous academics and comprehensive student supports that help students transition into and succeed in college coursework. In Michigan, EMCs are considered different from dual enrollment in which high school students take college courses but do so without systematic school support, curricular planning, or a fifth-year component (MDE, 2017). Michigan EMCs aim to engage students in completion of a high school diploma and at least one of the following EMC outcome awards: an associate degree, 60 transferable college credits, a MEMCA technical certificate, a professional certification, or a registered apprenticeship (MDE, 2021a).

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“[Mott Middle College] continues to break barriers in time and place by enabling students who haven’t finished high school to take courses on a college campus. This kind of approach, which opens up a marvelous opportunity for young people, should be viewed as a model for other educators and educational institutions dealing with disengaged students at risk of dropping out.”


-William S. White, Former President, Mott Foundation



In Michigan, there are three types of Early Middle College:


  1. EMC high school: A stand-alone public high school, where 100% of the pupils are enrolled as EMC students. 

  2. EMC high school program: A program designed to serve less than 100% of the high school population. The EMC program may enroll students from one high school or multiple high schools within one district. 

  3. EMC consortium program: A program comprising multiple school districts with one coordinating agency. Note: Consortium programs now have an S2E2 entity code in the Education Entity Master. 


The number of EMCs in Michigan has increased from one individual school in 1991 (Mott Middle College High School in Flint) to 177 in 2020. As interest in EMCs gained traction in Michigan in the early 2000s, pioneers of the EMC model formed MEMCA in 2005. Led by the founding principal of Mott Middle College High School, MEMCA seeks to increase college and career readiness among traditionally underserved students through the EMC model. In collaboration with the Michigan Department of Education Office of Career and Technical Education (MDE OCTE), MEMCA provides technical assistance to ensure the high-quality operation of current and new EMCs in the state by:

  • overseeing the EMC application process,

  • approving schools and programs to award the MEMCA Technical Certificate,

  • providing professional development and coaching, and

  • disseminating outcomes and best practices.


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