New State Policy Toolkit Arms Advocates with Resources

May 10, 2018

By Jack Porter, Advocacy Associate

Today, NCAN is pleased to release the completed State Policy Toolkit, a resource aimed at arming members with data and exemplars to support the policy priorities embedded in the network’s Model State Policy Agenda.

In 2016, NCAN convened a committee of 20 members to assist with assembling the agenda, a guiding document for our members developing state policy priorities. At its annual national conference and through a subsequent online survey, NCAN gathered feedback on the first draft from the wider membership, and the Model State Policy Agenda was finalized in the fall of 2017. The agenda is divided into two categories – affordability and talent development – that contain sub-categories exploring need-based aid, higher education funding strategies, preparation, access, and success.

Examples of policy priorities include setting a statewide attainment goal, and allowing all high school graduates in a respective state to qualify for in-state tuition at public colleges. These priorities are included in multiple project plans of NCAN’s member advocacy grantees.

In December 2017, 17 members were awarded a grant of up to $40,000 each to engage in federal or state advocacy activity, and in some cases, both. One dual-grantee, The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, also contributed to the model agenda’s development.

“It means a lot to The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis for NCAN to be engaged in state policy work,” Scholarship Foundation Manager of Advocacy Karissa Anderson said. “NCAN is an incredible leader and resource in the federal policy realm, and having a national organization invested in what is happening in states lends an additional layer of recognition to the importance of our collective work across the country.”

The toolkit has also helped NCAN engage with non-grantee members that are nevertheless playing important roles in advocating for these priorities in their states.

Last month, NCAN collaborated with Achieve Atlanta, a member serving more than 2,000 students through scholarships and postsecondary advising services, to highlight the authorization of Georgia’s first need-based aid program. In the coming weeks, NCAN will remain involved in the next steps of the process to ensure that Georgia policymakers understand the importance of focusing on need-based aid, a policy priority included in the model agenda and toolkit.

NCAN will update the toolkit this fall, and annually thereafter.

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