NCAN Member and Student Federal Advocacy Fellowship (2020-21)

NCAN Member and Student Federal Advocacy Fellowship (2020-21)

The National College Attainment Network is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity for our members to engage in federal higher education policy and advocacy. NCAN members and our students are powerful voices to inform policymakers; and your advocacy can have great impact on students’ ability to access, afford, and attain a college degree. 

The goal of this fellowship is to expand the breadth of NCAN members participating in advocacy. NCAN is committed to policy and advocacy as a strategy to close the equity gaps that exist in higher education. Our success is tied to your crucial engagement in this advocacy work. 

Through this fellowship, you will engage in national policy discussions and join a growing group of peer members dedicated to advocacy. Candidates must have an organizational leadership that recognizes the role of engaging in federal policy, and can be from an organization that has formalized, or is ready to formalize, advocacy as a strategy within its broader portfolio of supporting students. 

To participate in this fellowship, an NCAN member organization must designate one staff person and two student fellows for consideration (student fellows do not need to be named in the application, but will be requested post-acceptance). Thus, as an organization you must be committed to involving students in advocacy. Additionally, candidates must be familiar with, and committed to advocating for, NCAN’s federal policy priorities

Questions? Please contact Raymond AlQaisi, policy and advocacy manager, at

The application deadline is Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Application is linked here.


  • The staff fellowship funding is an award paid to the organization in the amount of $7,500, and commits the staff for the duration of this advocacy work, 12 months. By applying to this fellowship, the organization is committing to and permitting the staff to dedicate time to fulfill the responsibilities outlined below – as a function of their role. This funding, paid to the organization, is for staff time and travel, and a proposed budget is not required in application.
  • The student fellowship stipend will be paid directly to the student via check in two distributions: one in the fall, and one in the spring. Each distribution will be $550. The student fellows should be currently enrolled undergraduate students who expect to maintain their enrollment for the upcoming academic year. (Recent graduates, who completed within the past two years, may be considered so long as they are not currently employed full-time by the organization that is applying.)

Please note that fellowship funds cannot used toward lobbying. 



To be considered, your organization must: 

  • Be an NCAN member in good standing as of Sept. 30, 2020.
  • Provide direct service to students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, or students who are first in their family to go to college, or work for a network of such service providers.
  • Be a nonprofit organization or a program of a nonprofit entity.
  • Have the staff capacity to participate in the commitments below.
  • Be fully committed to supporting advocacy capacity growth and activities.

Past NCAN Member Advocacy Grantees are eligible for this opportunity.



By signing and submitting the application for this opportunity, you are committing to the following activities and responsibilities should you be selected as a recipient.

NCAN member staff advocacy fellows (Oct. 16, 2020 – Oct. 14, 2021) must participate in the following events: 

  • Fellowship Kick Off Meeting (Oct. 22, 2020).
  • Monthly training webinar or community Zoom call.
  • "Thankful4Pell" Campaign to send letters to, or communicate via social media with, your members of Congress (week of Nov. 16, 2020).
  • New Congress Virtual Advocacy Week (February 2021), which will include preparation research, scheduling, and conducting of virtual meetings with your members of Congress. (Please note that issue education is not lobbying.)
  • NCAN’s 2021 National Conference (October 2021). Fellows must use grant funds to pay for travel should the Conference require it. NCAN will cover the conference registration fee for the fellow.

Additionally, the staff fellow must:

  • Create one item of advocacy collateral, such as a blog, video story, or op-ed pertaining to NCAN's policy priorities.
  • Commit to conducting the process of selecting and managing (e.g., relaying information between) two student fellows who will participate with them in advocacy efforts.
  • Participate in NCAN’s Rapid Response Policy Team, a group of NCAN members interested in federal policy, who agree to receive (and when needed, respond to) typically one email per month. 

Student advocacy fellows (Nov. 2, 2020 – June 11, 2021) must: 

  • Participate in the November Thankful4Pell campaign and the February 2021 Virtual Advocacy Week, and corresponding pre-event training(s).
  • Create a “student story” related to a federal policy priority, via written blog or video format. This should be submitted before the end of the fellowship.
  • Additionally, NCAN will request ideas of how the student fellows can create a community with each other. This may take the form of an occasional call between NCAN and the student fellows (should they be available to join) or via a platform for the student fellows to connect.