College Changes Everything
An educated workforce is vital for the continued economic prosperity of Iowa communities. Employers in all industries have an increasing need for skilled and educated workers. Only 41 percent of Iowa’s 1.6 million working-age adults (25-64 years old) have two or four-year degrees , while more than six in 10 jobs in the state will require postsecondary credentials by 2018.  Iowa’s economic future depends on us producing more college graduates—a task more effectively tackled at the local level in our communities rather than by the state as a whole.
Increasing college attainment leads to stronger local and state economies. Iowa’s economic future depends on us producing more college graduates. An increase of one-percent in degree attainment leads to a two-percent increase in a community’s economic growth.  In addition to the benefits of increased income and employability for individuals, college educated adults are also civic-minded and actively engaged in their communities and are less likely to rely on social services. Higher family incomes also benefit state and local economies through increased tax revenue. 
College Changes Everything is based on the premise that sustained change is only possible through cross-sector coordination. Relationships based on shared responsibility and trust, development of a common agenda, shared measurement of goals, effective communication and mutual reinforcement of activities among all participants are key to successfully increase college attainment at the community level. Building upon the existing initiatives and resources currently available in our communities, College Changes Everything™ leverages the strengths and long-term plans of each participating organization. Ground-level legwork of VISTA volunteers, access to data and training and strategic assistance for community leaders provided by Iowa College Aid and other state and national experts fuel the movement to meet the community’s higher education goals and raise educational attainment statewide. College Changes Everything flyer
Communities in Iowa's College Changes Everything Network
The Federal College Access Challenge Grant Program's purpose is to foster partnerships among federal, state and local governments and philanthropic organizations through matching challenge grants that are aimed at increasing the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. As a recipient of this two-year federal grant, the Iowa College Student Aid Commission (Iowa College Aid) is offering sub-grants to Iowa communities, in the form of Planning Grants, ranging between $5,000 and $10,000, to conduct a strategic planning process to organize and initiate a community-based local college access network (LCAN).
The purpose of these LCANs is to increase the college attainment of particular communities in Iowa as part of the College Changes Everything initiative. The process for this Planning Grant and subsequent Implementation Grants (available to selected communities) has been adapted from the successful LCAN structure pioneered by the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), using the Collective Impact framework for local crosssector collaboration to solve complex social problems. The Planning Grants are intended as seed funding for locally-driven collaboratives. Sustainability of the LCAN and its initiatives should be addressed.