National College Access Network


National College Access Network —

Consortium Lead Applicant


FAFSA and program simplification


May – September 2016

Yes-6 / No-2 / Maybe-0 / 1 abstention* (Mishory) / 3 absent

Grantee/Project Background:

Founded in 1995, the National College Access Network (NCAN) works to overcome barriers that underrepresented students face on the path to postsecondary credentials through capacity building, benchmarking, policy and advocacy.  For this project, the Campaign formed a consortium with Scholarship America and the National Campus Leadership Council, groups selected for their ability to elevate the voices of students and those working directly with low-income and first-generation students and their families.  Consortium partners will recruit, train and mobilize a cadre of new voices of college access and success advisors and program practitioners, student leaders on college campuses, and private scholarship providers and volunteers on Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and program simplification through development of a coalition and an Advocacy Institute and related materials.  Subcontractor HCM Strategists*, a public policy advocacy and consulting firm, will develop and facilitate the Institute, which will precede and carry into NCAN’s annual conference.


* Advisory Committee Chair Terrell Halaska did not abstain from this vote, as HCM Strategists had not yet been identified as a subcontractor at the time of the vote.

Advocacy Activities:

  • Launch a New Voices Coalition to amplify the practitioner and student voice in support of federal student aid and simplification
  • Conduct a series of training webinars for advocates
  • Develop and conduct an in-person, capacity-building Advocacy Institute focused on on demystifying the congressional process, engaging policymakers effectively, illustrating the power of advocates and their story, applying learnings at home, and recruiting other advocates, in addition to legal requirements and policy landscape
  • Design, publicize and conduct policy and advocacy sessions at NCAN annual conference (6 learning track sessions and 3 plenary sessions)
  • Host a post-conference wrap-up webinar
  • Convert the advocacy curriculum to online e-learning modules for continued learning and future use for new advocates
  • Identify and engage new advocates for “rapid response networks” to react to policy ideas and engage with policymakers and elected officials as policy resources


May 2016

Launch New Voices Coalition


May – August 2016

Develop advocacy training curriculum and materials

September 2016

Conduct New Voices Advocacy Institute

Conduct policy and advocacy sessions at NCAN annual conference
(6 learning track sessions and 3 plenary sessions)

Launch e-learning unit on advocacy

Mobilize advocates to serve in rapid response teams, issue campaigns and advocacy networks (ongoing)