NCAN to Support Federal and State Advocacy by Members

September 26, 2017

By Carrie Warick, Director of Policy and Advocacy 

In August, the National College Access Network received a new commitment from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for $2.5 million to expand policy and advocacy initiatives during 2017-19. This generous grant will allow NCAN to continue our policy work on college affordability at the federal level. It will also add two new elements: an expansion into state higher education policy, and the ability for NCAN members to receive sub-grants of up to $40,000 over two years to support their individual advocacy work. For more information about these sub-grants, please visit our Member Advocacy Grants page. Grant applications are due Oct. 20.

“NCAN is incredibly grateful for this grant and its recognition of our members’ ability to impact the higher education conversation,” Executive Director Kim Cook said. “Our field is motivated to make more progress for students at the federal and state levels, and this enhanced support will help NCAN and our members do just that.”

NCAN believes that financial aid policy at both the federal and state levels is a key lever for change in the quest to help many more students achieve a postsecondary education. The students our members serve, their stories, and the data documenting their success are all powerful tools in influencing policymakers’ decisions to support the best possible outcomes for students who are low-income, first in their family to go to college, or of color. This grant will allow NCAN to provide support to our member organizations to enhance their own policy work through sub-grants to support their staff time and to provide professional development, issues education, and networking.

On the federal front, NCAN will continue our focus to further simplify the FAFSA form following the success of Early FAFSA and PPY implementation. NCAN will also promote federal student aid as a smart investment in the future workforce and economy by continuing to make the case for no Pell Grant cuts, freezes, or eligibility restrictions and support annual cost-of-living increases. NCAN will advocate to reform, not eliminate, SEOG grants and to reform and expand the Federal Work-Study program to better serve low-income students.

On the state front, these funds will provide first-time support for NCAN’s burgeoning state policy work. State action, sometimes even more so than federal, affects postsecondary access and completion through policies on issues such as in-state tuition rates, need-based aid, and transfer students. This new funding will provide NCAN the opportunity to consider which policies are most advantageous for our students at the state level and then help our members determine which goals to pursue in each state.

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