Educational Institutions

College Access Now

  • Seattle, WA
  • www.collegeaccessnow.org

Mission Statement

College Access Now empowers students from low-income families to access, enroll, and graduate from college at rates equal to their more advantaged peers. Since 2005, College Access Now has helped more than 2,000 students on their journey to a college degree. Why is this significant? Because 100 percent of CAN students are from low-income families, 94% are students of color and most are the first in their family to attend college. Nationally, these students are less likely to attend college and less likely to graduate college. The impact of a college degree, especially the first degree, changes the student's family forever. One example of this is that the average individual with a four-year degree will earn $1.8 million more than a high school graduate.

Main Programs

  1. High School College Access
  2. College Persistence
Service Areas

Self-reported

Washington

College Access Now works in five high schools in Seattle Public Schools and two in Highline School District, providing intensive test prep, college essay help, organizing campus visits, and assistance completing the FAFSA and applying to scholarships. In addition, CAN graduates are supported on college campuses across the country with help integrating socially and academically on the new campus and navigating the complexities of academics, financial aid, and student support services. In 2015-2016 academic year, CAN is be serving more than 700 high school students and 930 college students.

ruling year

2006

Executive Director since 2016

Self-reported

Dr. Sheri Ranis

Keywords

Self-reported

education, AmeriCorps, mentoring, tutoring, after-school, high school, college, university, test prep, application, scholarship, fafsa, higher education, opportunity, graduation, first-generation

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014.
Register now

Also Known As

CAN

EIN

68-0624494

 Number

8548102549

Physical Address

3211 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way South, Suite A

Seattle, WA 98144

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Student Services and Organizations (B80)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Since 2005, College Access Now has assisted more than 2,000 low-income students at five high schools in Seattle Public Schools and two high schools in Highline School District on their path to becoming the first in their families to earn a college degree. So far, over 94% of our students have enrolled in college, compared to barely half of their peers facing similar barriers. 64% of our students have graduated from college within six years, compared to 11% of first-generation, low-income students nationally. CAN recently launched a college persistence program to increase our college graduation rate supporting our high school graduates all the way to a four-year degree.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

High School College Access

CAN’s onsite AmeriCorps service members each provide support to groups of approximately 35 students. CAN staff and volunteer coaches provide additional individualized and group support to CAN students during their junior and senior years of high school. CAN’s services aim to help students navigate the college application process from identifying colleges, preparing for tests and applying. When a CAN student is accepted to college we ensure they have an understanding of their financial aid packages, we aid in making a choice about where to attend, and guide them through following up on that choice and having a plan for living and expenses for the fall.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Budget

Program 2

College Persistence

At College Access Now, getting into college isn’t enough—we make sure students graduate.

We help them choose the right school, create sustainable habits, and prepare for the transition away from family. Our intrepid youth enter college with the tools they need to prosper, as well as the enthusiasm and internal resilience required to surmount inevitable challenges.

Research shows that the most significant reasons for low-income students dropping out of college are lack of money and connection to the campus. Our program addresses these issues both through direct student contact and through building deeper relationships with campus services (e.g., financial assistance and extra-curricular supports). We support our CAN students over a period of up to eight years: during their junior and senior years in high school and for up to six years of post-secondary education.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Young Adults (20-25 years) -- currently not in use

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    College Access Now is dedicated to making college admission and graduation possible for talented, motivated and economically disadvantaged students. Studies show that only 51% of low-income students enroll in college, and for those that are also the first in their families to seek a college degree, the graduation rate is just 11%. College Access Now identifies high school juniors and seniors with the academic potential to succeed at the college level, but who face multiple barriers to actually earning a degree. Our dedicated staff, network of volunteers, and near-peer AmeriCorps coaches work intensively with small cohorts of students to navigate the college application process. CAN provides standardized test preparation, organizes college visits, and reviews application essays so students have the best chance of being accepted at the college that's right for them. CAN also works tirelessly to assist with scholarship applications and the financial aid process to make college affordable. Our goal is to create a culture of expected college enrollment in the schools we serve and to eliminate the enrollment and graduation gap between our students and their more privileged peers.

    CAN's agency goal is to increase the number of low-income, first generation college bound students graduating with a college degree. We believe this will produce a diverse and highly educated workforce and break the generational cycle of poverty. Specifically, our strategies to achieve our agency goals are measured by the following short-term programmatic outcomes for low-income, first generation high school and college students:

    • Increase the number of students taking college entrance exams (SATs/ACTs);
    • Increase the number of students completing initial and renewal FAFSAs;
    • Increase the amount of scholarships/private grants/government support;
    • Increase the number of college applications submitted;
    • Increase the number of college acceptances; and
    • Increase the persistence rate from college acceptance to college graduation.

    CAN has a highly effective track record of achieving these goals. CAN's more than 2,000 students to date have achieved the following through our programs: 99% acceptance to college; 93% enrollment in college; 92% persistence to the second year, and more than 60% have earned a college degree from our first cohorts.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    High School Program: During both junior and senior years, CAN's students attend weekly, two-hour long cohort sessions, led by an AmeriCorps member; CAN has 20 AmeriCorps members leading our school-based cohorts and individual mentoring. The curriculum includes modules in career development and planning; college campus visit preparation; GAP analysis for high school graduation; college application preparation including essays and application forms; college entrance exam preparation; financial literacy and processes; and skill building in decision-making and transitions. Individual coaching sessions are the opportunity for community volunteers to work one-on-one with CAN students. AmeriCorps members spend 4 full days a week on high school campuses. They participate in staff meetings and collaborate with teachers, administrative staff and career counselors. CAN's intensive High School Program ensures students have all the tools and skills necessary to make informed decisions about their future. During the next academic year, CAN will serve 700 juniors and seniors in the High School Program.

    College Persistence Program. CAN provides intensive individual student outreach, advising and mentoring for CAN's college students. The persistent outreach provides students with continual support – both emotional and practical – to ensure they have all the necessary tools to graduate. CAN AmeriCorps members provide on-campus resource connections for students by instigating bi-directional connection-making between college administrators, advisors and students. Our College Persistence Program helps students choose the right school, create sustainable habits, and prepare for the transition away from family. Our Program is offered year-round, beginning with transitioning students from CAN's High School Program, throughout the academic school year, summer break, and for the duration of their college years. During the next academic year, CAN will serve over 900 college students at universities and community colleges throughout the country.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    College Access Now's core assets are our highly motivated staff, outstanding curriculum and robust model. Our external strengths include strong relationships with the schools we serve, highly supportive funders and productive partnerships with other educational organizations.

    College Access Now grew organically out of a need identified by the community to help talented, low-income student attend and graduate from college. As CAN expanded, it maintained its strong connection with the parents, teachers and administrators at the schools. CAN receives significant funding from the schools it serves, in addition to dedicated rooms for our programs that are open throughout the school year. CAN also leverages our limited staff time with a large number of volunteers from the community that provide one-on-one and small group coaching for our students.

    College Access Now has strong partnerships with other organizations in the field to enhance the delivery of our services and improve the quality of our organizational practices. CAN is part of the Youth Program Quality Initiative, a capacity building series run by School's Out Washington and the Raikes Foundation. Through this program we have built opportunities for our students to have direct input in the services they receive, through surveys, feedback sessions and a committee directly advising CAN's board of directors.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    College Access Now's mission of making college admission and graduation possible for talented, motivated and economically disadvantaged students is statistically measurable in a number of ways.

    CAN tracks the barriers facing our students including family income, GPA, ethnicity and if English is spoken in the home. 100% of our students are from low-income families, 38% have a GPA below 3, over 94% are students of color and 72% speak a language other than English at home. CAN is currently building a database of our students so that these demographics can be cross referenced with outcomes to ensure all of the student populations served are benefiting.

    College preparation is tracked in a number of ways. CAN monitors standardized test scores and the increase in test scores for students retaking the ACT or SAT after taking CAN's test prep course. CAN also tracks the number of schools applied to and the acceptance rate. To date 99% of CAN students have been accepted to one or more colleges.

    Financial aid is something CAN follows closely. Nearly every CAN student completes the FAFSA, and scholarship opportunities are promoted to students who qualify. In the past CAN has tallied the total value of scholarships and financial aid earned. Currently CAN is focused on measuring and reducing the amount of debt our students graduate with, particularly in relation to the value of the degrees they earn.

    Knowing the ultimate impact over as students lifetime due to CAN's intervention may never be directly measurable, but studies have shown that college degrees are worth millions of dollars and years of added life to those that earn them.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Founded in 2005, College Access Now has helped over 2,000 students embark on their path to a college degree. To date, 99% of CAN's students have gained acceptance to college; 93% have enrolled, and more than 60% of CAN's first cohorts have graduated with a degree.

    It is estimated that by 2018, 67% of jobs in Washington State will require college degrees. By assisting students with the academic ability to fill these jobs who would not otherwise go to college, CAN is contributing directly to the economic growth of the area.

    In addition to societal benefits, College Access Now aims to directly improve the lives of the students we serve. While many benefits of a college degree are difficult to measure – civic participation or sense of self-actualization – some direct economic benefits will be tracked. CAN aims to reduce the levels of student debt by assisting with FAFSA applications, encouraging students to apply for suitable scholarships, and discussing the costs and benefits of different college choices. The new College Persistence Program will go even further, helping students claim in-state tuition and update their financial aid packages. In addition, this support network will increase graduation rates. According to Education Sector researcher Mary Nguyen, “[Student loan] borrowers who drop out face higher unemployment rates, lower median incomes, and higher loan default rates than those who graduated.“
Service Areas

Self-reported

Washington

College Access Now works in five high schools in Seattle Public Schools and two in Highline School District, providing intensive test prep, college essay help, organizing campus visits, and assistance completing the FAFSA and applying to scholarships. In addition, CAN graduates are supported on college campuses across the country with help integrating socially and academically on the new campus and navigating the complexities of academics, financial aid, and student support services. In 2015-2016 academic year, CAN is be serving more than 700 high school students and 930 college students.

Social Media

Affiliations + Memberships

National College Access Network

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member

External Reviews

Source: greatnonprofits.org

The review section is powered by Great Nonprofits

Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

College Access Now
Fiscal year: Aug 01-Jul 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

Sign in or create an account to view this information

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Get all this now for free
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

College Access Now

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Executive Director

Dr. Sheri Ranis

BIO

College Access Now is thrilled to announce our new Executive Director, Dr. Sheri Ranis. Sheri is an accomplished and visionary leader who has dedicated her career to promoting educational innovation and equity, with a particular focus on postsecondary pathways.

Sheri was an early pioneer in the college access and success field. With more than 20 years of experience in education, the nonprofit sector and national philanthropy, Sheri brings tremendous knowledge and expertise to her new role. Her lifetime of work has been focused on promoting educational innovation and equity, including her most recent role as Strategy Director at the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation. Her tenure begins at an exciting time for College Access Now as we embark on an ambitious plan to expand our services to more than 2,500 students annually throughout Seattle and South King County.

“CAN feels so fortunate to have someone with Sheri's deep knowledge and national expertise lead our organization. The entire search committee was impressed with how she marries her thought leadership with tangible action," says CAN Board member Kate Cochran.

Prior to her role at Lumina, Sheri was a Senior Program Officer on the Education Initiative/US Programs team at the Gates Foundation and was a Program Director for the Higher Education and Education Research Programs at the Social Science Research Council. She also has worked as a consultant and advisor to nonprofit organizations and research organizations, as well as served on many nonprofit boards of directors. Sheri earned her B.A. at Smith College, completed a Master's Degree in International Affairs at Columbia University, and was awarded a Ph.D. in Education from Teachers College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Linda Hendrickson

Former Executive Director, Cascadia College Foundation

Term: June 2015 - June 2018

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?