PPA shared its focus group expertise with Michigan community colleges through a new guide, The MI-Best Student Focus Group Guide. This guide is designed to help community colleges hear student voices and apply the learning to their programs and services. It may also be helpful to others looking to conduct focus groups with their customers since many of the processes and tips are applicable across audiences and environments.

The PPA team developed this guide within the Michigan Building Economic Stability Today (MI-BEST) initiative, which focuses on increasing institutional financial stability supports for students. As part of this work, PPA conducted virtual focus groups for Bay College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Lake Michigan College, and Oakland Community College. These focus groups centered on understanding student awareness of supports available from the college, students’ unmet needs, and service improvement opportunities within the college and in partnership with the local community.

The Cross-Cutting Report from these focus groups is also available online, where you can find a full set of recommendations and findings. The colleges embraced the recommendations by pursuing changes to their programs and the way they communicate with students.

The MI-BEST initiative was funded by a grant from the Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) Foundation. You can learn more about MI-BEST and the resources for community colleges here.