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23 cities, states receive grants to combat COVID-19-related postsecondary enrollment decline

COVID-19, Education

NCAN announced today 23 states and cities awarded grants as part of a Kresge-supported effort to ensure the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t derail the college-going plans for the high school classes of 2020 and 2021.

The grants, totaling $1.6 million, address the historic and inequitable disruptions for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds with regards to college enrollment. Amid the economic, health, and other impacts of the pandemic, these populations experienced the largest declines in Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion and postsecondary enrollment.

NCAN, backed by a $2.4 million Kresge grant, issued a call for proposals in March and received 142 in response. The grants will amplify state-level FAFSA completion initiatives and enhance local postsecondary advising and matriculation support in select metropolitan areas. Grants range from $25,000 to $100,000 each.

“We are inspired by the wide range of innovative and resourceful approaches communities are using to help ensure students graduating from high school during this pandemic are not left behind,” said Kresge’s Education Program Deputy Director Caroline Altman Smith, who served on the selection committee. “Students always need postsecondary advising and FAFSA completion support, but they are absolutely critical this year, given the disruptions students and families have faced on their path to college,”

The organizations are diverse in terms of geography, leadership, and service model.

FAFSA completion grant recipients:

Postsecondary advising grant recipients:

The situation calls for immediate action because research shows that students who delay postsecondary enrollment after high school are 64% less likely than their “on-time” peers to complete a bachelor’s degree and 18% less likely to complete any college credential.

“NCAN is grateful to The Kresge Foundation for recognizing the urgency of repairing the high school to college pipeline,” said NCAN’s executive director, Kim Cook. “The initiatives that these grantees proposed demonstrate what is possible when schools and districts, college access and success organizations, state departments of education, colleges and universities, philanthropic organizations, and other partners come together to ensure every student can succeed. We must make sure high school classes of 2020 and 2021 get the postsecondary opportunities they need and deserve.”

Read the NCAN blog for examples of the work these grants will support.