Networks: State/Regional

About College Access/Success Networks

What Are College Access/Success Networks? 
NCAN defines a statewide, regional or citywide college access network (CAN) as an interconnected system of organizations that cooperate, coordinate, and/or collaborate to achieve increased postsecondary access and success for students, particularly those from historically underrepresented populations, low-income and potential first-generation college students. For more information on college access and success networks, please contact Carrie Warick, Director of Partnership and Policy.

Why Are Networks an Attainment Strategy?
College access and success networks are being created today because their leaders understand the need to leverage resources and relationships to produce synergy, harness energy and produce quantifiably greater impact. If designed, managed and programmed effectively, networks can:

  • Circulate and promote the latest research-based best practices for students;
  • Help members become more efficient by working more closely with one another;
  • Encourage an exchange of information about one another’s approaches and methods; and
  • Have the capacity to exert more influence over policies and practice by virtue of their sheer numbers; and generally extend their impact more widely.

This section adapted from Creating and Operating a College Access and Success Network.


Planning and Managing a Network

 Creating a College Access/Success Network

The first phase of network building is the planning phase. NCAN recommends the following steps for the planning process:

Step 1: Establish a Planning Team
Step 2: Research the Needs of the State, Region or City
Step 3: Take Inventory of Existing Programs and Identify Gaps
Step 4: Determine the Mission of the Network
Step 5: Secure Seed Funding

 Implementing a College Access/Success Network

After the planning phase, comes the network implementation phase. NCAN recommends the following steps for both first time network implementation, but also a guide to review for networks already in operation. 

Content for steps 6-13 is coming soon!

Step 6: Find a Home for the Network
Step 7: Develop a Budget
Step 8: Hire Staff
Step 9: Create a Strategic Plan
Step 10: Cultivate a Diversified and Sustainable Funding Base
Step 11: Market and Promote the Network
Step 12: Provide Services
Step 13: Evaluate and Track Progress

NCAN Members can learn more by clicking each step above. The Creating and Operating a College Access and Success Network Guidebook is available to all.


Resources for Network Leaders

Building and maintaining a college access network is a large undertaking; the time and resource commitment should not be taken lightly. However, NCAN is working with dozens of networks around the nation to improve college attainment rates in their state or region. Following are resources that may be of assistance in developing your college access network.

Network Guidebooks
The Network Guidebooks are the best place to start for community leaders looking to start a network in their state or region.

Statewide College Access Network Directory
There are 20 states with statewide college access networks and over 100 communities with college access collaborations in some format including those following the collective impact framework and those with local college access networks.


Member Benefits for Networks 

Several dozen statewide and regional networks are NCAN members, and receive several member-only benefits for college access networks. Benefits include a Network Learning Community, complementary resources to the Creating and Implementing a College Access/Success Network (see above), and a 25 percent discount for their members to join NCAN.

If you are a network interested in joining NCAN, click here, or are interested in starting a college access and success network, click here. Additional questions? Please contact Carrie Warick, Director of Partnership and Policy.