College Changes Everything
In FY 2014 Iowa College Aid launched College Changes Everything, a collaborative place-based approach to addressing workforce needs and increasing educational attainment in Iowa. Using the Collective Impact framework, College Changes Everything supports the development of sustainable Local College Access Networks (LCANs), aligning available college access resources to meet the needs of local students and institutions. The LCAN model, developed by the Michigan College Access Network, is a prescribed collaborative approach engaging cross-sector leadership toward a common goal of increasing college access and completion. We define “college” broadly as postsecondary training, education that supports gainful employment, non-degree credential programs, four-year degrees and beyond.
Iowa College Aid is supporting communities through training, technical assistance, and planning grants of up to $10,000 awarded in FY2014. LCANs are forming cross-sector leadership teams, examining their baseline data reports, and are completing asset mapping of existing resources that expand students’ access to and success in postsecondary education. The leadership teams use baseline data and asset maps to identify priority areas for action planning and set the LCAN’s own specific common agenda. Additionally, five AmeriCorps VISTA members have been placed in communities to assist with Collective Impact efforts and other college attainment initiatives, such as the Three Step Process.
In December of 2015, communities with significant progress will be invited to apply for LCAN Launch Grants of up to $45,000 to continue the steps for building a Local College Access Network. This will include staffing the Network, building action teams and action plans, and creating a dashboard to share progress with their community.