News: NCAN News

NCAN Announces New Advocacy Grant Opportunity for Members

Tuesday, October 15, 2019  
Posted by: Carrie Warick, Director of Policy and Advocacy
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The National College Access Network is pleased to launch this opportunity for our members to engage in advocacy work in higher education policy. Policy decisions at both the federal and state level impact students’ ability to access, pay for, and succeed in college. Our students’ voices, and those of the practitioners who work with them, are powerful avenues to influence policymakers’ decisions at the state level and in Washington, D.C.

The goal of this grant competition is to expand the portion of NCAN members participating in advocacy work. Ideal candidates for this grant are new to the advocacy space and ready to add advocacy work to their broader portfolio of outreach to support their students. Interested members should be familiar with NCAN’s policy goals, available at

Successful applicants will have organizational leadership that recognizes the role of improving federal and state policy to achieve the goal of closing equity gaps in higher education. They will be excited to participate in national conversations and to join a growing group of like-minded peer organizations dedicated to advocacy. Additionally, organizations must be committed to involving students in their outreach.

This grant will provide successful applicants with $11,000 over 10 months to begin their advocacy work. Funds may be used for salary and benefit support, travel requirements for the grant, travel to visit NCAN members with greater advocacy experience, as well as other activities such as consulting, events, publications, and communications. Funds may not be used for lobbying activities.

You can review a PDF version of the grant application here.

The application process is now closed.

Please see additional sections below: 
Grant Calendar 
Eligible Applicants
Grantee Commitment
NCAN Commitment
Additional Information

Grant Calendar:

  • Applications Due: Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. ET
  • Applicant Notification: Tuesday, Nov. 22
  • Grant Start Date: Dec. 1
  • Student Advocacy Fellow Designation Deadline: Jan. 24, 2020
  • Advocacy Training in Washington, D.C.: February/March 2020
  • NCAN National Conference in New Orleans: Sept. 14-16, 2020
  • Grant End Date: Sept. 30, 2020

Eligible applicants:

Organizations that apply for the NCAN 2020 Member Advocacy Grant must meet the following requirements in order to have their applications reviewed. The organization must:

  • Be an NCAN member in good standing as of Oct. 15, 2019.
  • Provide direct service to low-income students, students of color, or students who are first in their family to go to college OR be a network of such direct service providers.
  • Be a nonprofit organization or program of a nonprofit entity.
  • Have the staff capacity to participate in all grantee commitments below.
  • Be, as an organization, fully committed to supporting advocacy capacity growth and activities.

By signing and submitting this grant application, organizations commit to the following activities and responsibilities should they be selected as grant recipients:

  • Designate a specific staff member who will serve as the project lead, fulfilling all responsibilities designated to the project lead and managing or delegating other responsibilities and communications.
  • Participate through the project lead in two in-person events throughout the grant time period:
    • Annual advocacy training in Washington, D.C., which will be a two-day event including issues education training, storytelling workshops, presentations from experts in the field, and issues education events/meetings with policymakers or staff. (February/March 2020)
    • NCAN National Conference in New Orleans, Sept. 14-16, 2020. The annual conference will include a policy track, an invite-only training session held concurrently with the conference (not a pre-conference), and an invite-only meal.
  • Designate a student advocacy fellow to participate in the program by Jan. 24, 2020.
    • Fellow must: participate in the Washington, D.C., event preparatory webinar and attend the Washington, D.C., event.
    • Eligible students must be currently enrolled in a postsecondary education program; be age 18 or older; and identify as the first in their family to go to college, a student of color, OR receive a Pell Grant.
  • Provide in-district issues education to federal or state elected officials or staff during the course of grant.
  • Have the Project lead participate in the NCAN Rapid Response Policy Team, receiving and responding to, as appropriate, 1-2 emails per month.
  • Participate in approximately six policy/advocacy-themed webinars through either the project lead or a delegated staff member.
  • Provide one piece of advocacy collateral via writing a blog post or op-ed, or making a video. (This may be a “student story” from the Student Advocacy Fellow.)
  • Cover travel costs to NCAN’s annual advocacy training in Washington, D.C., for the project lead and student advocacy fellow. (Funds may be from grant or from other sources.)
  • Cover travel costs to the NCAN National Conference, Sept. 14-16 of 2020, in New Orleans, for the project lead. (Funds may be from grant or from other sources. Project lead will receive a conference scholarship for the registration fee.)
  • Use grant funds to provide a $250 stipend to the Student Advocacy Fellow for his/her/their time.

By providing these grants to our members, NCAN commits to the following activities and responsibilities:

  • Provide a lead grantee contact to provide technical support related to policy and advocacy.
  • Deliver high-quality and relevant issues education and training to members via in person and online media.
  • Provide timely information on federal activities and key state activities to grantees.
  • Establish a learning community atmosphere and networking opportunities among grantees.
  • Include grantees in NCAN messaging or communications, to possibly include newsletter, blog, social media, or materials for elected officials with the goal of raising your organization’s national profile.

Additional Information:

  • NCAN will host a second round of this grant competition for 2021, beginning in fall 2020.
  • Additional Student Advocacy Fellow stipends will be available for students from organizations outside of this grantee cohort to attend NCAN’s annual advocacy training in Washington, D.C., in February/March 2020.
  • Invite-only policy events at the NCAN National Conference will include current grantees, former grantees, and other NCAN members actively involved in NCAN’s policy work.