Fall 2016 - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Fall 2016

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Fall 2016

Upcoming Events

Iowa School Counselor Association Annual Conference
The Iowa School Counselor Association (ISCA) will hold its annual conference on November 6-8, 2016, at Prairie Meadows Convention Center in Altoona, Iowa The conference, Mission Possible: School Counselors - Agents of Change, will focus on the wide and varied topics and challenges of today's counselor as they try to support the full range of issues facing today's student. To learn more about the conference, click here.

Financial Aid Awareness Month - November 2016
November is Financial Aid Awareness Month. This designation coincides with the new financial aid timeline and kickoff to FAFSA season. 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

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.

Social Media

Fall Spotlight

FAFSA Ready Iowa Initiative 70% Completion Rate

FAFSA Ready Iowa Initiative

ICAN Launches Major Initiative to Help Iowans Pay for Post-High School Education and Training

The Iowa College Access Network (ICAN) today announced a major initiative to remove financial barriers that often derail Iowans' progress in pursuing education and training after high school.

The initiative, FAFSA Ready Iowa, promotes increasing the number of Iowans completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – a form that is the first step in unlocking millions of dollars in grants and scholarships.

"Iowa lags behind other states in FAFSA completion, says Rob Miller, president of the Iowa College Access Network. "Iowa has a FAFSA completion rate of about 41 percent, compared to a national average of 55 percent. That means many Iowans aren't aware and taking advantage of the resources available to make education or training beyond high school more affordable. With average student loan debt levels approaching $29,000 for Iowans, this is something we have to address. "

In fact, nationally more than $2.8 billion in grants and scholarships – money that doesn't have to be repaid - went unclaimed in the 2015-16 school year. During the same time frame, Iowans left nearly $25 million on the table by not completing the form. The FAFSA Ready Iowa initiative will increase the number of Iowans filing statewide to 70 percent by 2025. Read more.


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.


  • FAFSA Completion Assistance Programs

    FAFSA Ready Iowa

    FAFSA Ready Iowa - October 2016 - March 2017
    42 locations throughout 34 Iowa communities will offer more free FAFSA assistance at more than 60 events from October 1, 2016 through March 15, 2017. 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 November to Iowa families in need of FAFSA assistance. Assistance is by appointment only, please have students call (877) 272-4692 to secure a time.

  • ICAN Launches Blog

    Keep up with the ICAN advisors as they travel the state and give advice, tell stoires, and share insights on life after high school. Check out the Career & College Corner today.
  • Grand View GV Complete Program Proving Successful
    Des Moines, IA. Two years ago, Grand View University unveiled GV Complete, a personalized whole degree-planning program that allows students to see a clear path to graduation – both academically and financially. This innovative program is designed to make a Grand View degree more affordable and predictable, as well as reduce student debt, encourage four-year graduation, and improve financial literacy. Students and their families have begun to plan for – and finance – the entire college degree, rather than a year or semester at a time. Read more.


  • Form Your Future: NCAN to Host Webinars on New FAFSA Completion Campaign (NASFAA)
    NCAN's new Form Your Future campaign focuses on FAFSA completion, and provides free materials for education professionals to use to inform students about financial aid, educate volunteers to help with FAFSA completion, and organize FAFSA completion events. During the two webinars, NCAN staff will show you the many types of campaign materials that you can put to work along with your own FAFSA communications and events, and explain how your support of #FormYourFuture will help reach even more students around the country. Learn more at formyourfuture.org, and register for the webinars on Oct. 24, 2016 at 3 pm EDT, and Oct. 26, 2016 at 1 pm EDT. .

  • OPINION: 8 Questions About 'FREE' Community College (NASFAA)
    "As a longtime advocate of community colleges, I'm often asked what I think about the various proposals being floated to make a two-year college education free for all students," Rob Jenkins, an associate professor of English at Georgia State University Perimeter College, writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    "My answer: I think the idea is an intriguing one, and early reports from the states where it's being tried (Tennessee and Oregon) seem encouraging. At the same time, there's no guarantee that such programs are going to be effective in the long run, nor does it necessarily mean other states - much less the entire country - should follow suit.
    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.

    Read more.

  • Financial Aid Eligibility Mindsets Among Low-Income Students: Why Do Some Believe They Can't Receive Financial Aid for College? (NCAN)
    Previous research has suggested that most students who do not apply for financial aid do not think they are eligible. However, our research told a different story. In general, participants who did not apply for financial aid lacked information about their eligibility. Students selected "I did not think I was eligible" to signify that they did not actually know one way or the other, rather than because they truly believed that they were ineligible for aid from an informed perspective. Students who did not apply were either misinformed or uninformed about how they could acquire aid and, more importantly, about what aid was in general. This perspective is critical, as it opens the opportunities to intervene and to provide students with the information they need. The study's nine key findings are:

    The whole question of "eligibility" is moot if students don't actually know anything about financial aid.
    2. There is no lack of information about financial aid; it's just not getting to the students who need it most.
    3. Students who did not apply for financial aid were more likely to have a negative perception of loans.
    4. Males were more likely to be misinformed or uninformed about financial aid and to not want aid in general.
    5. Students who did not apply for financial aid were more likely to prefer to pay for their schooling out of pocket.
    6. Many students who did not apply for financial aid were not confident that they could rely on their schools for support.
    7. Students who did not apply for financial aid were more likely to believe that their parents did not want to share their information.
    8. Students whose parents did not attend college were as likely to apply for financial aid as those whose parents did attend college.
    9. Hispanic students were more likely to believe that there were opportunities to receive financial aid.

    Read the full report.

  • US Department of Education, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Release College Planning Resource Guide (U.S. Department of Education)
    The U.S. Department of Education and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (Initiative) today released the ¡Gradúate! 2.0: A College Planning Guide to Success. The guide provides Hispanic students and families with information and resources to help navigate the process of going to college.

    "This guide is a continuation of the historic investments the Obama Administration has made since day one to advance Latino student success from cradle to career," said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. "It will help us continue the dialogue on the importance of promoting a college going culture across the country."

    The guide includes:

    • Preparing for College: Provides key resources and information students may find helpful in high school and the early stages of the college application process. It also includes tips and tools when it comes time to research different types of colleges and universities and begin building a list of institutions to apply to.

    • Process of Applying & Enrolling: Once students build and narrow a list of colleges and universities, the guide provides students with information on the process of applying for colleges including what is required for a college application and tips about the different college entrance exams and fee waiver information.

    • Paying for College: Provides descriptions of the various financial aid resources available to help students pay for college and an understanding of the different types of financial aid awards and packages. This is in addition to the financial aid information found in the first edition of the Initiative's ¡Gradúate! Financial Aid Guide to Success.

    • Preparing for the First College Semester: Provides information that can help you navigate your first semester of college including what you should know about on and off campus living, summer orientation and placement tests.

    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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