Iowa College Aid Insider - August
Visit Iowa College Aid at the Iowa State Fair
Register for the Iowa College Application Campaign
Volunteers Needed for the Iowa College Application Campaign
What I Wish Someone Told Me Before College
GEAR UP Iowa Return from NCCEP Conference Ready to "Rise Up"
Hampton Receives College Changes Everything Planning Grant
Search the City
Visit Iowa College Aid in the Varied Industries Building during the Iowa State Fair, going on now through August 23. We are busy spreading the word about the positive impact that a college education has on not only the individual but also that individual’s community. Fair goers can complete a short survey on the cost and importance of a college education and pick up free financial aid and student loan publications along with color-changing Iowa College Aid pencils and other freebies.
The 2015-2016 school year is fast approaching and Iowa College Aid is excited to once again host the Iowa College Application Campaign, this year as part of our 3 Step Process! Serving as step 1, the Iowa College Application Campaign gives students the opportunity to begin their postsecondary plans by completing college applications with assistance they might not receive at home. While the focus is on supporting first-generation and low-income students, the goal of the Campaign is to provide every graduating high school senior with the opportunity to apply to at least one college.
2015 marks the fourth year that Iowa high schools have participated in this national effort to engage and inform students about the college application process. This year the Campaign is supported by the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa Association for College Admission Counseling (Iowa ACAC), School Administrators of Iowa (SAI), the Iowa Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (IASFAA) and the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN). Register now to ensure your school is recognized in this statewide effort!
Registered schools will be provided with:
- Site Coordinator Guide
- Site Coordinator Toolkit
- Training webinar
- Promotional posters
- Teacher signs to display throughout the campaign stating where school staff went to college and what type of degree they earned
- Stickers and car window clings to pass out to each student who fills out an application
- Assistance recruiting volunteers
- End of Campaign Report with building, district and state data
New this year, the registration provides schools with the opportunity to register for all “3 Step Process” programs at once. Please note that you can register for the FAFSA Completion Initiative without a signed data sharing agreement and for the College Decision Day without specified dates. Iowa College Aid will work with the contact prior to the initiatives to ensure that all required information is complete
The success of the Iowa College Application Campaign relies heavily on volunteers to assist during school events where students complete college applications. For many students, especially those form underserved populations, the college application process is new and intimidating. As a volunteer, your involvement reduces student anxiety, provides a venue to give back to your community and demonstrates to students how to be engaged citizens in the future.
If you are interested in volunteering at a high school in your community, please complete this volunteer registration form. Your assistance can make difference in the lives of students in your communities. Please contact Iowa College Aid with any questions at 877-272-4456 or firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line “College Application Campaign”.
Iowa College Aid is excited to have released the video, “What I Wish Someone Told Me about College”, as the first in the “Education Empowers” video series. The video highlights issues facing students who are making the transition from high school to college. Many students, particularly those from low-income and underserved populations, find themselves unprepared for many of the changes that await them in college. This video series will address many of those concerns by featuring real people with whom students can relate.
Future videos currently in production include the importance of campus involvement, resiliency /overcoming barriers and building a support network. Please let us know your thoughts on this first video, share it on social media and let us know other ideas for future installments.
Earlier this month, the GEAR UP Iowa team, along with Iowa College Aid Executive Director, Karen Misjak, and six staff members from GEAR UP districts in Sioux City and Clinton, had the opportunity to join 1,800 GEAR UP educators from across the country at the National NCCEP/GEAR UP Conference in San Francisco. Congressman Fattah kicked off the conference with a speech inspiring us all to continue working collectively towards closing the opportunity gap and guiding more youth towards achievement in higher education. Emphasizing the conference theme of “Together We Rise,” Fattah and NCCEP President/CEO, Ranjit Sidhu pointed out that in order for people to succeed individually, we must succeed on the collective ability to rise – we must care not only about our own kids, rather care about ALL kids.
GEAR UP Iowa staff was exposed to extraordinary learning experiences that they can apply in their own work. Remarkable stories of strength and triumph through adversity demonstrated the success of GEAR UP programs:
- Sheila Barragan de Guerrero of Hidalgo, TX accepted the award for GEAR UP Parent Leader of the Year. Sheila arrived in the U.S. just four years ago and is an active volunteer of many community and school organizations. Guerrero spoke in her native Spanish saying, “I am Mexican. I am an immigrant. GEAR UP adopted me and made me feel worthy.”
- William Brooks Van Buren of Gillette, WY accepted the award for GEAR UP Youth of the Year. Van Buren is a prime example of resilience and perseverance as he and his two siblings were born into a single parent household with frequent bouts of homelessness causing him to miss four years of elementary school. He is now headed to Purdue University to study computer science!
- Hearing writer/director, Mary Mazzio and former student, Lorenzo Santillan, discussed the award-winning documentary film, Underwater Dreams, “the epic story of how sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants learned how to build an underwater robot from Home Depot parts and defeat engineering powerhouse, MIT, in the process.”
- Salman Khan, founder and executive director of Khan Academy inspired attendees to go to the next level and use technology to humanize the classroom. Khan Academy “offers practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom” in numerous world languages for FREE.
The student successes and inspiring strategies have motivated GEAR UP Iowa to do more. The conference theme, “Together We Rise,” posed three key strategies:
- We must continually excel at our work to maximize student success;
- We must prove that GEAR UP works and build the research and evaluation infrastructure to guide improvements and ensure sustainability; and
- We must mobilize our communities, states and the nation around our success.
The GEAR UP Iowa team came back to Iowa ready to “rise up” and champion the needs of our communities so that we will rise together.
Iowa College Aid has awarded Hampton, Iowa with a $7,562 College Changes Everything Planning Grant to help increase college attainment within the community. Hampton was awarded the grant based on their demonstrated need and commitment of community leaders. Hampton intends to use the grant funding to conduct strategic planning aimed at organizing and initiating a community-based local college access network (LCAN).
An article about Hampton’s involvement with the College Changes Everything movement was published in the Mason City Globe Gazette
$10,000 has been hidden in the city of Des Moines! The Des Moines I Have a Dream Foundation is organizing Search the City, a city-wide scavenger hunt where participants receive clues to search for a medallion worth a $10,000 college savings account. The college savings account could be used to continue your own education, or for a child, spouse, relative or friend. Scavenger hunt clues will be released through the Des Moines Register starting September 1. Those interested in participating must purchase a $5 Search the City button. Go to the Des Moines I Have a Dream website for more information.
Education Empowers, the official blog of Iowa College Aid, provides practical, informative and engaging tips and insight related to financial aid and college planning. Recent blog topics include:
Another year of school will soon get underway as students head back to Iowa’s colleges and universities, many for the first time. We’ve compiled a list of 10 tips that will help students not only get acclimated to their school, but also help deal with some parts of college that can cause the stress that, when it compounds, can lead to larger problems.
After years of hard work, students around the country are about to embark on the next step of their lives. For many, it’s the first time they will live on their own and be responsible for their own education, not to mention health and well-being. Mom and Dad might be miles away or as close as home, depending on where students are going to school. Be them near or far, students will be more likely to succeed academically, socially and emotionally if parents talk to them openly and honestly about the issues they will face in this new chapter of their lives.
With so much information and experience available as close as a keyboard, it’s no surprise that virtual campus tours have become a widely-used tool for students looking to learn more about colleges and universities. While these videos might not be as popular as tabbies flying off a couch or little pandas yawning, virtual campus tours offer more than just time-wasting fun. These tours give students and families a fuel-efficient way to learn more about potential schools during the college selection process.
Iowa College Aid will be closed on Monday, September 7th in observance of Labor Day. We will reopen on Tuesday, September 9th at 8:00 a.m.