News: State Policy & Advocacy

NCAN Introduces Model State Policy Agenda and Toolkit

Thursday, January 11, 2018  
Posted by: Jack Porter, Advocacy Associate
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Today, NCAN released our final Model State Policy Agenda and the first of five installments in a State Policy Toolkit. 

The model agenda seeks to provide NCAN members, particularly those in networks or coalitions, with a guide to develop their own state policy goals and agenda. The toolkit reflects the agenda’s priorities for affordability and talent development with examples of effective policies and programs to help organizations develop and guide their advocacy strategy.

The first toolkit installment, Focus on Need-Based Aid, highlights data for advocates to understand their state’s need-based aid appropriations processes and recent trends, policies that align postsecondary education and states’ economic needs, and state programs that enable traditionally underserved students to set their sights on higher education at an early age.

NCAN decided to broaden our state policy portfolio as a part of a new commitment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

“Building on NCAN’s strong federal policy agenda and advocacy experience, we will deepen our policy work by engaging our member programs at the state level where many attainment issues, such as curriculum, need-based state aid, and access, are decided,” said Kim Cook, NCAN’s Executive Director. These two new resources come on the heels of NCAN awarding 13 member advocacy grants for state policy work, which run through September 2019. 

Linda Jensen, director of the Arizona College Access Network (AzCAN), played a significant role in formulating NCAN’s Model State Policy Agenda and establishing a vision for the toolkit. 

“NCAN can be instrumental” in advocating for policy that has a substantial impact on students, Jensen said. 

Troy Miller, associate director for research and policy at the Florida College Access Network (FCAN), also commented on the significance of NCAN stepping into the state policy space. 

“NCAN and its members being involved in state policy lets us know that we’re not alone in the work that we’re doing in Florida,” Miller said. “There’s strength in numbers that I think can be really powerful for helping us achieve our goals.” 

FCAN played a significant role in Florida adopting a statewide postsecondary attainment goal, a point included in NCAN’s model agenda. 

NCAN looks forward to supporting the grantees and all of its members in their state policy efforts, and to releasing four additional toolkit installments, culminating in a final report on May 1.