New Grants Support Advocacy Efforts, Student Success and CSAs

February 14, 2018

By Kim Szarmach, Communications Intern

NCAN is continuously thankful for the generous support of our funders and excited about the opportunities we've had to give regrants to our members during the last several months. 

In August, NCAN received a new commitment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for $2.5 million to expand policy and advocacy initiatives during 2017-19. As one of the primary components of this grant, NCAN members received sub-grants in the amount of up to $40,000 over two years for federal and state policy advocacy efforts. Last month, we announced that 17 of our members received these grants, with some going above and beyond to double-dip in both federal and state policy. 

Grantees started conducting advocacy efforts in January and will continue through September 2019. Federal efforts will focus on the simplification of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, a more efficient Federal Work-Study program, and protection of the Pell Grant. Efforts at the state level will seek to support the needs of transfer students and raise awareness about the importance of need-based aid. 

In September, NCAN was pleased to be one of six education organizations to receive grants from the FCA Foundation, the charitable arm of North American automaker FCA US LLC (FCA US). With the FCA Foundation’s support of $200,000 during 2017-18, NCAN will promote best practices to build capacity for college access and success among its membership of nearly 400 organizations in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Through professional development and communications, NCAN emphasizes approaches including use of local student outcome data, delivery of evidence-based services, development of strategic partnerships across sectors, and technology adoption to increase efficiency. 

The excitement continued this October, when NCAN announced a re-grant opportunity to help member organizations establish or significantly expand college success services for students. With the support of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, NCAN will offer grants of up to $45,000 over two years for up to 12 members. NCAN is no longer accepting applications for this grant, but winners will be announced in March. 

Also this fall, thanks to a $3 million grant from the Greater Texas Foundation, NCAN shared it will partner with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and College Forward to increase the number of rural students entering and completing postsecondary degree programs. 

"With the largest rural population of students in the country, there is tremendous need for providing quality programming and support to this population located in small schools in isolated settings," NCAN Executive Director Kim Cook said. 

And finally, as was announced just last week, NCAN received a $270,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to expand knowledge and resources related to College Savings Accounts (CSAs) across NCAN's membership. The grant will support outreach efforts, including regular blog posts, webinars, conference sessions and connections to geographically relevant potential partners that will help members better understand and take advantage of CSAs.  

From supporting member organizations' state and federal advocacy efforts to helping members develop college success programs, NCAN looks forward to making the most of making the most of all these grant opportunities. 

Elizabeth Morgan and Jack Porter contributed to this article.

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