Overview of NCAN's Four Strategies

NCAN pursues four strategies to help states, nonprofit organizations, schools, higher education institutions, philanthropists, and the business community provide better college access and persistence support to low-income and underrepresented students. 

Capacity Building. To do their best work, organizations that provide college access and success services to students must be well-trained and well-informed. Through timely and targeted information and professional development, NCAN supports the growth and development of member organizations so they can serve more students more effectively and efficiently. 

Benchmarking. How much of a difference can college access or success strategies make to increase college enrollment and graduation rates for students? NCAN is helping the field standardize the data used to answer this question and to help organizations compare their performance to others or to national averages. Commonly accepted outcomes based on data will encourage more schools and organizations to develop effective college access and success interventions, and funders need no longer wonder which student supports are worth the investment. Most importantly, real-time data systems tracking these benchmarks also allow college access and success programs to consistently check their progress, undertake improvements, and ensure equitable results for all kinds of students. 

Collective Impact. Increasing postsecondary completion rates across an entire community or region takes collaboration from many sectors. NCAN encourages the formation of and supports entities that take statewide or local responsibility to coordinate the range of program activities and system changes that result in more college graduates. 

Policy. Millions of first-generation and underrepresented students each year could benefit from improved federal policies related to financial aid and higher education. Informed by our member organizations and the students they serve, NCAN is one of few voices in the nation's capital representing low-income individuals in the higher education debate.