Overview and Background
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.
Local College Access Networks (LCANs) are a community engagement initiative that stems from our experience implementing Iowa’s statewide career and college information system. 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 partnerships in communities across Iowa with targeted training and technical assistance, limited flexible funds that yield actionable data and plans, and a statewide network to foster learning and collaboration among communities.
Iowa College Aid believes:
• Everyone needs education beyond high school 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, "college" encompasses everything from traditional four-year and graduate degrees to associate’s degrees and credentials like specialized certificates.
• Iowa will not meet its skilled worker demands without engaging populations such as adults, low-income and underrepresented students 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.