Winter 2016 - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Winter 2016

Winter 2016

Upcoming Events

Visit the Hill - February 3, 2016
The Iowa Association of College Admission Counselors (ACAC) and the Iowa School Counselors Association (ISCA) are hosting the 2016 Visit the Hill in Des Moines to advocate for education and Iowa students. Learn more.

National School Counseling Week - February 1-5, 2016
National School Counseling Week 2016, "School Counseling: The Recipe for Success," will be celebrated from Feb. 1-5, 2016, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of professional school counselors within U.S. school systems. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by ASCA, highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. National School Counseling Week is always celebrated the first full week in February. Learn more.

Financial Aid Awareness Month - February 2016
February is Financial Aid Awareness Month. This designation coincides with many collegiate deadlines for FAFSA submission and is the perfect time to work on completing financial aid and scholarship forms for the next academic year, which begins in Fall 2016. The Iowa Association of Financial Aid Administrators (IASFAA), the Department of Education, the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN), and other state partners are working together to promote important events throughout the month. Learn more.

Take Note

IASFAA School Counselor Webinar Series - Financial Aid
The Iowa Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (IASFAA) recently conducted three financial aid informational webinars geared toward school counselors. Each webinar was recorded and is available for viewing at these links.

ISCA/ICAN Webinar Series
The Iowa School Counselor Association (ISCA) and the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN) partner to provide a webinar series on important topics and issues facing school counselors today. Watch ISCORE, the ISCA website, the ICAN website, and social media for announcements of upcoming webinar topics. You can also view recordings of past webinars on the ISCA and ICAN sites. Learn more.


Winter Spotlight

FSA ID Process


Goodbye, Federal Student Aid PIN. Hello, FSA ID!
The Federal Student Aid PIN has long been a staple of preparing for the college financial aid process. This year the PIN has been replaced by the FSA ID, or Federal Student Aid Identification. The FSA ID is a username and password that heightens the security for a variety of websites, including the FAFSA. Learn more in the video above.

FAFSA Completion Assistance Programs

Iowa College Goal Sunday

Iowa College Goal Sunday - February & March 2016
47 locations throughout Iowa will offer free FAFSA assistance at more than 60 events throughout February and March 2016. Find a location near you.

ICAN FAFSA Assistance - Extended Hours
The Iowa College Access Network (ICAN) will extend hours to include evening appointments throughout the month of February to Iowa families in need of FAFSA assistance. Assistance is by appointment only, please have students call (877) 272-4692 to secure a time

Social Media

Featured Articles:

This issue of College Access Connections features best practices and success stories from around the state, as well as national updates we feel are beneficial to professionals working in career and college readiness fields.


  • Prior Prior Year Changes

    The financial aid timeline is changing. Beginning in October 2016, students will be able to file the FAFSA with completed taxes from two years prior (2015), and will have access to the form on October 1, 2016 rather than waiting until January 1, 2017. The above video explains some of the changes coming to the financial aid process, and what those changes mean for students.
  • ICAN Outstanding Student Scholarship Honoring Steve Loven Honors Counselors Too

    ICAN Scholarship

    Iowa high school seniors have the opportunity to recognize their high school counselor and receive a scholarship for college. To qualify, students must submit an essay outlining how the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN) helped prepare them for their post-high school endeavors, as well as describe how their high school counselor promoted a culture of college and career readiness at their school. The school counselor must be mentioned by name, and examples of school counseling excellence and a positive perception of a college-going culture must be provided. Two students will receive a one-time $250 scholarship and their high school counselors will receive awards of $125 for professional development. All Iowa high school seniors attending a two- or four-year institution beginning in Fall 2016 are encouraged to apply. Read more.
  • DMACC Students Add Two Plus Two to get a Four-Year Degree
    Central Iowa students in increasing numbers are seeing Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) as a two-year, affordable springboard to a four-year or advanced degree.

    To date, DMACC students have transferred to an amazing 925 colleges and universities around the country, including every private and public college in Iowa. And more than 65 percent of current DMACC students say they plan to transfer to a four-year college or university. Read more.

  • Cornell's First-Gen Students 'Rise Up'
    Being among the first in your family to earn a four-year college degree takes determination and initiative. At Cornell College, first-generation students are now supported by Rise Up, a program created to ensure their success. Read more.

  • Eastern Iowa Community College Hosts Middle School STEM Event
    At Eastern Iowa Community Colleges this April will be the 2nd time we host a new and exciting event targeted at 8th grade students to promote exciting career paths related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  We titled this event STEM @ the Ballpark.  This year, we are planning to host the event again at Modern Woodmen Park. Read more.

  • UNI Upward Bound Works Toward Strong Year-End and Plans for Summer Programs
    The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Classic Upward Bound (CUB) program is not allowing the cold temperatures to freeze our progress towards the end of the year and the beginning of our summer program. Our students are in the throes of preparing for finals and the CUB staff are beginning preparations for our six week summer program. As always, the year has been a challenge for our students but they have succeeded in overcoming the adverse situations life throws their way. Read more.
  • Easter Seals are Resource for Students with Disabilities
    Transitional times can be tough, especially for individuals that experience additional barriers and difficulties. The Easter Seals Iowa Assistive Technology Center may be a resource for students that are experiencing transitions, especially for students that experience various types of disabilities. Read more.


  • Obama Administration Unveils College Success Proposals (NASFAA)
    The Obama administration unveiled a series of new proposals aimed at increasing college success. Among the proposals is a plan to provide a Pell bonus of $300 to students who take 15 credits per semester and a plan to bring back year-round Pell Grants. These proposals, officially named “On-Track Pell Bonus” and “Pell for Accelerated Completion,” are similar to NASFAA’s “Pell Well” and “Super Pell” ideas put forth in our 2013 Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery report. NASFAA looks forward to working with the administration on developing these proposals further, particularly within the context of reauthorization.
  • New Acting Secretary Starts at U.S. Department of Education (NCAN)
    Eighty leading colleges and universities on Monday announced a plan to reverse a decades-long process by which colleges have -- largely through the Common Application -- made their applications increasingly similar.

    Further, the colleges and universities are creating a platform for new online portfolios for high school students. The idea is to encourage ninth graders to begin thinking more deeply about what they are learning or accomplishing in high school, to create new ways for college admissions officers, community organizations and other to coach them, and to help them emerge in their senior years with a body of work that can be used to help identify appropriate colleges and apply to them. Organizers of the new effort hope it will minimize some of the disadvantages faced by high school students without access to well-staffed guidance offices or private counselors. Read more.

  • New Rankings of Post-Graduation Earnings Now Available (NCAN)
    Last month, Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce published a report ranking four-year colleges based on what their students earn post-graduation. Using data from the U.S. Departmetn of Education's College Scorecard, the report, entitled Ranking Your College: Where You Go and What You Make, provides students and families with a list of colleges with the highest earnings potential.
    Read more.
  • Educational Resources for Immigrants, Refugees, Asylees and other New Americans (U.S. Department of Education)
    Currently, there are over 4.7 million foreign born individuals enrolled in pre-kindergarten to postsecondary education, representing 6% of the total student population. Another 20 million students are the children of foreign born parents. To visit the U.S. Department of Education's page dedicated to providing information and resources for immigrant, refugee, asylee students and families, click here. The site provides fact sheets and other resources on the rights of unaccompanied children to enroll in and participate meaningfully and equally in education prorams.
    In the following video, Secretary Arnie Duncan discusses educational resources for new arrivals and DACA students.

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