C.S. Mott Foundation Supports NCAN on Early Student Aid-Related Policies

August 11, 2015
By Elizabeth Morgan, Director of External Relations

NCAN has received a $200,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to increase research and disseminate information that will help states, particularly in the Midwest, to design or improve their need- and merit-based grant programs for students from low- and middle-income families.

“Early aid awareness and commitment programs can increase college aspirations, expand access to college and, ultimately, improve college success for more students, especially underrepresented students,” NCAN’s Executive Director Kim Cook said. “NCAN is pleased to be able to expand our exploration of and communication about how states can adopt this strategy and how it relates to federal financial aid policy reform.” 

Early awareness and commitment programs include targeted information campaigns, children’s savings accounts, “promise” programs, and other supports such as mentoring and college advising. Program examples include GEAR UP, Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program, the Washington State Achiever’s Program, the Kalamazoo Promise, the Tennessee Promise, FUEL Education, and the 1:1 Fund. Their strategies and outcomes vary, but all are intended to help students and parents make a behavioral commitment to postsecondary education early enough to take required college preparatory coursework. Some programs involve an early commitment of aid by a state or city to a student; others involve a savings program where a student’s savings are matched by a government or private donor.

In addition to research and communication about early awareness and commitment, NCAN will convene stakeholders, conduct webinars, identify resource material for use with students and families, support state or local networks advocating policy change, and share policy options with state government leaders.

The grant builds on NCAN’s efforts during the last four years to develop and promote a targeted set of national policy and advocacy solutions that will help more students take better advantage of need-based financial aid and thereby be significantly more likely to complete a postsecondary degree. Solutions include greater awareness of aid, better timing and simplification of the aid application process, and better information for students about outcomes of individual colleges and universities. 

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, established in 1926 by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the United States and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways to Opportunity. In addition to Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg and London. With year-end assets of more than $2.7 billion in 2014, the Foundation made 400 grants totaling more than $101 million. For more information, visit www.mott.org.

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