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About ICAN

It's all about the future.

The mission of the ICAN is to help prepare students for future success.

We believe that education leads to greater economic prosperity for individual students, their families, and the communities in which they reside. We also believe that all Iowans benefit as more and more students attain their education and career goals through informed decision making, translating into greater numbers of educated and skilled workers.

To put it simply, more education and job training equals more success for students and for the communities of Iowa.
ICAN’s team of student success advisors help individuals with life-changing decisions pertaining to college and career choices, college affordability and financial aid, and career exploration.

As always, the impact and success of ICAN is made possible only through the continued, generous support of its partners and contributors. The programs and services you support help students make informed decisions when creating a plan for their future, and achieve their education and career goals, launching them on the path to a successful, productive life.

Thank you for your continued support to positively impact Iowa’s youth!
Rob Miller, ICAN President

About ICAN


ICAN has served the educational community and the students of Iowa since 1998. ICAN's mission is to empower Iowans to achieve lifelong success through education, training, and informed decision-making . ICAN helps nearly 800,000 students, parents and education professionals prepare for college each year.

Planning for a career and college, applying for financial aid and mastering your financial situation can be confusing and intimidating. For that reason, ICAN's team of Student Success Advisors work directly with Iowa students and their families. Whether at one of eight ICAN locations, at a career and college access program in an individual community or school, through email, Zoom™ or by phone, ICAN's team of experts are here for every Iowan. Most ICAN programs and services are offered without charge.

Post-High School Education & Training is Critical to Economic Opportunity

Post-secondary education and training has become the new gateway to the middle class and one of the most important economic issues of our time. Goal 2025 is vital to maintain a good quality of life for Americans and to ensure the long-term stability and security of our society.

  • Did you know? High-achieving lower-income students are less likely to graduate from college than their higher-income counterparts.
  • 90% Ninety-percent of the fastest growing careers require post-secondary training or education.
  • 1M More than 1 million students fail to graduate from high school each year.
  • 2.2% The jobless rate for college graduates is 2.2% vs. 5.4% for those with only a high school education.
  • 800,000 The US needs 800,000 more college graduates each year to compete with top-performing nations.
The Goal:

To increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.

Did you know? That despite drastic economic and social changes over the past 40 years, the percentage of the American population with a post-secondary credential or degree has remained flat. The United States needs 64 million additional college degrees to match other leading nations in degree attainment.

ICAN is a proud partner of the Goal 2025 initiative as set forth by the Lumina Foundation for Education. Learn more about Goal 2025.

In Iowa:

ICAN has a presence in 99 percent of Iowa high schools, working with more than 375 schools throughout the state.


ICAN has nearly 150 years of combined experience in financial aid and college planning.

Who Does ICAN Serve?

ICAN assists all Iowa students, including low-income and first-generation college-bound students whom statistics show are most at risk of not attending college. One in three of America's low-income youth can expect to enroll in college. Only one in seven will earn a bachelor's degree.

  • 21% of the customers ICAN serves identify themselves as belonging to races other than Caucasian compared 9.43% of the population in Iowa.
  • More than 30% of families make less than $50,000 per year.
  • 45% are first-generation college students who have no family members to guide them through the planning and financing process.
Program Impact Stats
  • 99% of attendees indicated that attending an ICAN College Planning or Financial Aid Presentation better prepared them for the college process.
  • 99% of program attendees agree that ICAN experts are knowledgeable in subject matters presented.
  • 97% of program attendees agree that the topics presented are important and the resource materials distributed are useful.
  • 99% of attendees indicated that ICAN center appointments met their expectations.

ICAN History


In 1998, Iowa Student Loan (ISL), a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded the College Planning Center (today ICAN), as a community outreach division. The College Planning Center division sought to educate high school students and their parents about the college-going process, specifically surrounding the financial aid process.

Planning services and programs were offered to Iowa high schools and communities without charge, allowing school counselors to bring trained college access professionals into their schools and communities to provide tailored advice to students and parents.

Growth and Expansion

In 2005, the College Planning Center began building partnerships outside the state of Iowa, becoming a member of the National College Access Network (NCAN) and learning about college access outreach from across the country and bringing the best practices back to Iowa communities.

In 2007, the College Planning Center became the Iowa College Access Network, and began focusing on services for both students and the professionals that helped them. A college access professional's newsletter was created, along with a section of the ICAN website dedicated specifically to professional development and resources for counselors and other professionals working in college access.

Becoming a 501(c)(3)

In 2008, discussion began at Iowa Student Loan surrounding the possible separation of ICAN and the formation of an independent nonprofit. The realm of student loans was changing and the Federal Family Education Loan (FELP) program was set to end.

In addition to changes in the student loan industry, the separation of ICAN from Iowa Student Loan was also encouraged as a way to increase grant and community support for college planning programs. ICAN was learning from other college access networks throughout the country and each showed a model for success involving diversified funding sources and multiple, non-biased partnerships. Becoming a separate entity would encourage new partnerships and relationships, enabling Iowa Student Loan to take a step back from ICAN as they faced a changing loan market.

The Iowa Student Loan board voted for a formal separation in 2008 and the process of developing a new board of directors began. In 2009, ICAN attained its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service and began working towards complete independence from Iowa Student Loan.


ICAN is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is currently in the fourth year of its transition period from Iowa Student Loan. Through this transition period, Iowa Student Loan remains the largest supporter of ICAN's mission through both financial and in-kind donations. ISL and ICAN have agreed to a gradual reduction of support over a five year period as ICAN begins to establish itself as an independent organization and forms new relationships throughout the state. In addition to the ISL contribution, ICAN seeks funding through donations, grants, sponsorships and partnerships with individuals, businesses, schools and organizations. View current partners and donors.

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