Spring 2016 - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Spring 2016

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Spring 2016

Upcoming Events

MIDWest Conference 2016 - May 2016
Best of the Midwest: Blueprints for Success is Sunday, May 15- Tuesday, May 17 in Minneapolis. The MIDWest Conference takes the place of the annual Iowa Association of College Admission Counselors (ACAC) conference. Learn more.

ISCA/ICAN Webinar Series: Three Steps to Building a College-Going Culture in Your School - May 4, 2016
College Application Campaign, FAFSA Completion Initiative and College Decision Day! This webinar will give a brief overview of each program and review best practices from previous years and high school participants. Participants will leave the webinar with techniques to implement the 3-Step Process in their high schools. Register Today.

Take Note

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.

Save the Date

Iowa School Counselor Association Annual Conference
The Iowa School Counselor Association (ISCA) will hold its annual conference on November 7 and 8, 2016, at the Prairie Meadows Conference Center in Des Moines. Pre-conference sessions will be held Sunday, November 6. For more information visit the ISCA website.

26th Annual Golden Circle College Fair
The 25th Annual Golden Circle College Fair will be held Sunday, September 25, 2016, at Hy-Vee Hall, part of the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines. This fair will feature more than 150 colleges and universities from across the country, as well as employer represented career clusters and career planning resources. This year's fair will also feature breakout sessions on career and college planning topics, and the financial aid process. Learn more.

Spring Spotlight

ICAN Student Success Centers - More than FAFSA Completion

ICAN advising

Personal Advising Sessions
Each year ICAN helps complete nearly 6,000 FAFSA forms in office and school settings across Iowa. While many Iowans know ICAN can help with the FAFSA, many don't know we start with students as early as 8th grade, mapping out a plan for high school, career, college, and beyond.

ICAN operates ten Student Success Centers across Iowa that offer the opportunity to meet, one-on-one with a Student Success Advisor to help map out a path to success.

Appointments are always free and can cover any of the following topics:

  • Career Exploration/Assessment
  • College Exploration
  • Paying for College
  • College Visits
  • College Selection Applications
  • Scholarship Search
  • CSS Profile
  • FAFSA Completion
  • FAFSA/Award Letter Review & Analysis
  • Understanding Student Loan Options
  • Alternative Funding Options for College

ICAN will meet with families as early as they like to discuss any number of topics or to answer general questions. ICAN's planning tools and resources begin specific focus in middle school years, with fou-year planning for high school beginning in 8th grade. Click here to learn more.

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.


  • DACA and the FAFSA

    This video outlines the process for completing a FAFSA when you are an undocumented or DACA student. DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is an American immigration policy that allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation.

  • Addressing College Affordability (Grand View University)
    College affordability, student loan debt, and degree completion are part of the national conversation these days, whether you’re a parent, a student, or a politician. While there are many theories about how we, as a society, should address these issues, one thing is clear: real improvement requires a shift in how higher education does business -- and how students and their families plan for a college education. Read more.
  • Hy-Vee: A Spirited, Passionate, Enthusiastic Voice for College and Career Planning
    An Employer's Perspective to College and Career Planning

    Hy-Vee has an extensive history of community involvement and support.  In the fall of 2015, Hy-Vee began offering sponsorship of the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN) high school outreach programs, specifically Freshman Transitions and College & Career Planning.  Hy-Vee not only provided financial support, but also dedicated time of a number of professional staff members to attend the presentations.  Hy-Vee Recruiting Specialists travelled to high schools across the state of Iowa to support and share information during ICAN Presentations.  Recruiting Specialists supported ICAN Representatives during the presentations by offering an employer’s perspective on college and career planning.  Recruiting Specialists also offered valuable information regarding the importance of good grades and involvement in high school, flexible part-time jobs at Hy-Vee, scholarship opportunities, and exciting career opportunities with Hy-Vee. Read more.

  • DMACC's "Start Your Story" Aims at Attracting Transfer Students
    Choosing a college is one of the most significant decisions of a young person’s life. While several factors play a role, the cost of tuition can ultimately tip the scales one way or the other for many students and their families. In fact, educational expense is second only to the availability of a major in the selection process, with 88 percent of students saying affordability is “very important” or “important.” When given only one option, two out of three students rate cost as the single most important factor.*  Read more.

  • Prior Prior Year for College Prospects (Cornell College)
    Finding the right college to be a home away from home is a big decision for high school seniors and their families. Filling out forms, writing essays, and completing applications compounds it. Then there’s the wait …  “am I accepted?  And will I be able to afford to go to my top choice schools?”  Read more.

  • The Imapct of Upward Bound - The UNI Perspective
    In Upward Bound, it is important to assess the progress of students and see what aspects of the program they are benefitting from. We track our students’ grades, attendance, test scores, class schedules, etc. However, there is so much power in a student’s honest disclosure about how Upward Bound has helped them and affected them. I asked students in our program a few different questions about what has been the most helpful for them in Upward Bound and what they have gained from it. There responses are motivating, inspiring and definitely worth sharing. Read more.


  • Early FAFSA FAQ's and Some Answes (NCAN)
    The Department of Education has placed a link on its ifap.ed.gov website that will be a repository for Frequently Asked Questions for the Early FAFSA and Prior Prior Year. The first set of questions was posted this week and we will share the highlights here. Read more.

  • New App Helps Undocumented Immigrants Find College Scholarships (KQED News)
    As a senior at North Hollywood High, Sarah Espinoza Salamanca did not know if she could afford college. She was an undocumented student with limited options to make money. So she turned to her counselor and teachers for help - but they did not know where to refer her for scholarship. Read more.

  • Navigating the College Financial Aid Process: Unique Challenges for First-Generation Students (NASFAA)
    "The words 'filling out financial aid documents' strike fear into the minds of most parents," Robin Levi writes in The Huffington Post.

    "The endless questions, filing taxes months early, the search for documents you didn't even know you had. The whole process is designed to give even the toughest person a stomach ache. Now imagine that you are a high school senior trying to make sense and fill out these financial aid forms, in addition to searching for and obtaining the required back-up documentation. That is what more than 100 Students Rising Above (SRA) high school seniors do every year to achieve their dream of becoming a first-generation college student.
    Read more.

  • Report Ties State Aid to Improved Graduation Rates (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
    "Although other researchers have looked at how students benefit educationally from federal or institutional aid based on need, few researcherers have specifically examined how need-based state aid helps its recipients' prospects for college completion." Read more.

  • Report: Financial Aid Central to Community College Student Success (NASFAA)
    The increasing cost of college that causes stress for students across the country goes far beyond paying for tuition and fees. Living expenses, books, and transportation costs also stand as financial obstacles to students, particularly those who attend community colleges, who tend to come from lower income backgrounds and struggle to balance their responsibilities in and out of school. Read more.

  • What About an Associate Degree (NCAN)
    As college costs have climbed in the last decade, associate degrees have become increasingly popular for many students because they can complete these degrees in less time and at a lower cost. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of associate degrees awarded increased by 59 percent from 634,000 in 2002-03 to more than 1 million in 2012-13. Over the same period, the number of bachelor's degrees rose by 36 percent, from 1.3 million to 1.8 million. But, do associate degree holders feel their degree was worth the effort and cost, in relation to their career and happiness? A new report from Gallup and USA Funds holds some intriguing answers. Read more.

Contact Us

We welcome your input! If you have questions, comments, or ideas for future issues, or would like to submit an article, please contact ghernandez@ICANsucceed.org.
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