Planning Grant Application
Iowa College Student Aid Commission (Iowa College Aid) is making available 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 Launch 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 cross-sector collaboration to solve complex social problems.
Rolling Grant Timeline:
College Changes Everything Planning Grants applications will be accepted over the period between 12/1/2014 and 6/30/2017, or until all funds allocated for Planning Grants have been expended. Grants are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year. Iowa College Aid is committed to reviewing grants and providing a response to applicants in 90 days or less. Interested communities may request a staff point of contact for technical assistance and training on the collective impact framework. Applicants may be asked to revise applications in order to ensure that project goals and deliverables are clear. To make a technical assistance request, please contact Julie Spicer, at 515-725-3436 or email@example.com.
Planning Grant Process
Iowa College Aid has adopted the collective impact framework to help communities organize and initiate their local network. We recommend that communities follow the steps listed below during the planning process in order to be successful and to help position your local network to be competitive for future grant opportunities, whether from Iowa College Aid or other sources:
1. Make the Case with Influential Champions
2. Conduct a Landscape Scan and Asset Map
3. Gather Baseline Data
4. Establish Initial LCAN Accountability Structure
5. Establish LCAN Common Agenda and Dashboard
6. Formalize Backbone Support Infrastructure
7. Align Existing Organizations to Shared Goals and Measures
8. Analyze Data to Select Priority Areas
Planning Grant Deliverables
Successful applicants will be expected to work toward, complete and submit the following Planning Grant deliverables during the tenure of their grant award.
• Signed Common Agenda
• Completed Asset Map
• Plan for Backbone Support
• National Student Clearinghouse Student Tracker Report(s)
• College Access and Success Dashboard
• Identified Priority Areas for Action Planning
Iowa College Aid staff is available to provide application assistance. Email Julie Spicer, Community Engagement Consultant, at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org 515-725-3436 to request support.
In addition to the financial grant, Iowa College Aid will provide training and technical assistance to grant recipients. You can access Charting the Course: A Community’s Guide for Increasing Educational Attainment through the Lens of Collective Impact here: www.micollegeaccess.org/lcan/guidebook. While the guidebook was written for Michigan, it was underwritten by the Lumina Foundation with the intent of providing a replicate framework for other states and communities, so it should not be difficult to adapt the lessons and tools to your community. A great place for you and your entire planning team to start is by reading the suite of collective impact articles by Kania & Kramer. Links for each article are on page 8 of this document.
College Changes Everything Planning Grants range between $5,000 and $10,000. It is important to think about what your community needs to assist with the planning process. All grantees will be required to match 25% of their grant award with cash or in-kind support to encourage greater sustainability of your LCAN. Costs could include hiring a consultant/facilitator for the process, data analysis costs and/or travel costs to visit another community’s LCAN.
Defining a Local College Access Network
Local College Access Networks (LCANs) are community-based college access coordinating bodies supported by a team of community and education leaders representing K-12, higher education, nonprofit sector, government, business, and philanthropy. These intermediary organizations are committed to building a college-going culture and dramatically increasing the college going/completion rates within their community. LCANs coordinate and expand programs, services and resources that lower barriers preventing students from pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities. LCANs organize community leaders around a singular vision and goal: Increase the community’s postsecondary educational attainment level to 70% by 2025 in order to lay the foundation for a vibrant economy, healthy community and strong workforce equipped to compete in a 21st Century global economy. The LCAN will set goals focused on student success, establish a system of data gathering and analysis, report results and hold partners accountable for performance.
ABOUT IOWA COLLEGE AID & COLLEGE CHANGES EVERYTHING
The Iowa College Student Aid Commission (Iowa College Aid) is a state agency with a Governor-appointed board of Commissioners, and is the only agency in Iowa that works with all sectors of higher education. Our mission is to advocate for and support Iowa students as they explore, finance and complete educational opportunities beyond high school to increase family and community success. We view college access and success as among the most effective and sustainable tools for the State of Iowa in encouraging economic growth and fighting poverty.
Our College Changes Everything initiative stems from our experience implementing Iowa’s statewide career and college information system and other college access grants. We learned that tools and resources have the most value if they are seen as meeting a local need. The buy-in of local decision makers, both internal and external to education, is critical to the success of a collaboration to increase college attainment. Iowa College Aid seeks to build the capacity of college attainment collaboratives in communities across Iowa with targeted training and technical assistance, limited flexible funds that yield actionable data and plans, and a statewide network in order to learn from each other.
Iowa College Aid believes:
• Everyone needs some sort of postsecondary training or education in order to be competitive in today’s job market and sustain one’s self and/or one’s family. Depending on student interest, ability, affordability, and community needs, postsecondary education and training encompasses everything from traditional four-year and graduate degrees to associate’s degrees and sub-associate’s credentials like specialized certificates.
• Iowa will not meet its skilled worker demands without engaging populations like adults, low income students, and students of color to enroll and complete degrees and credentials.
• Increased college attainment levels are highly correlated with an increase in positive community indicators like increased income, employment, home ownership, voting, volunteerism, reading levels for children, and exercising.