College Access Initiative
The College Access Initiative, included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, formalizes a foundational role of guaranty agencies in promoting access to postsecondary education and requires that they develop a comprehensive listing of the postsecondary education opportunities, programs, publications and other services available in their designated states.
As part of their public service mission, guaranty agencies provide an extensive range of services and programs to increase awareness of the importance of higher education, the opportunities available and the financial support offered. They make efforts to reach students and families at every stage of their education life-cycle – from programs designed for elementary school students to tools aimed at workers seeking new skills. All of these activities form the foundation of the College Access Initiative. A work group of guaranty agency representatives meets regularly to develop implementation plans to fulfill the Initiative’s two main requirements: promoting access and providing a comprehensive listing of available services.
The Initiative requires that guaranty agencies undertake activities to promote access to postsecondary education for students through providing information on college planning, career planning and paying for college, and to coordinate with other entities committed to similar goals. Guaranty agencies currently reach out to millions of students and families -- through a variety of channels including brochures and newsletters, financial aid workshops and hotlines, comprehensive Web sites and resource centers -- to inform them about how to prepare for college, plan for their career, pay for their postsecondary education and manage their finances. These free resources are used by schools, organizations and families throughout the country to boost awareness and early intervention efforts. For more details about the early awareness and outreach efforts by guaranty agencies, see the overview posted below.
The guaranty agency work group is developing resources to help agencies expand their outreach activities and reach a broader number of students, families and organizations. Agencies are sharing information about best practices and effective programs through meetings, workshops and conference call forums. They are also sharing resources about the technical assistance available in starting programs, the potential college access partners in the state, and the Federal and non-Federal programs that are operating throughout the country that may be seeking partners and supporters. In addition, they are working with national access organizations, including the National College Access Network, Pathways to College Network and the Council for Opportunity in Education, to help support national and state initiatives and leverage existing resources. Below is a detailed overview from each of the 36 guaranty agencies about the outreach services they provide. Also below is a list of guaranty agencies and their Web sites and two brochures that provide details about college outreach programs and materials.
Development of Comprehensive State Listing
The Guaranty Agency work group has come together to create the Web site - Going2college.org – that includes comprehensive information on career planning, college planning, and paying for college. The site, developed in conjunction with Mapping Your Future, provides a central location for students, families and educators to learn about every stage in the college planning process and includes links to relevant Web sites and a comprehensive listing of postsecondary education opportunities, programs, publications and other services available in their state. The site includes detailed information about the academic, emotional and financial support available through mentoring and tutoring programs in the state, college access resource centers, college and financial aid awareness events, and state and federal financial aid. To expand the number of access programs on the site, particularly those geared to low-income and first-generation students, agencies have been reaching out to state partners for information that can be included on the site. The Web site is an ongoing project that will be constantly updated by guaranty agencies.