College Access Now (CAN) is a Seattle-based 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to supporting low-income students in pursuing, accessing, and completing post-secondary education. Through collaboration with AmeriCorps members, CAN builds relationships with students to help them break down the college process into manageable steps and overcome barriers to college access and success.
CAN's High School Program works with juniors and seniors in 6 Seattle high schools - Franklin, Garfield, Chief Sealth, Nathan Hale, Roosevelt and West Seattle. Students attend weekly two-hour sessions in which they explore the college process and complete tasks that bring them closer to college admission, including: standardized test preparation, personal statement composition, compilation of a college list, and college, scholarship, and financial aid applications. On site four days a week, mentors offer assistance to students during the school day and build a college going culture at the school.
In their senior year, students receive support and guidance in deciding among post-secondary options and transitioning to their first year in college. From high school graduation, through summer breaks and their academic years until graduation, CAN's College Persistence Program helps students connect to on-campus resources, financial aid, register, transfer, and become comfortable with college life and workload. Constant communication and in-person meetings ensure our college students have all the necessary tools to enroll, persist, and graduate.
Participation in CAN is free to students. CAN recruits students in their junior and senior years of high school. Student GPAs range from 2.0 to 4.0, reflecting every segment of the school population. All of CAN's students are from low-income families, with more than 90% qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Almost all are students of color, with 74% of students living in non-English-speaking homes.
In the 2014-15 academic year, CAN will support over 560 high school juniors and seniors and over 650 college students. Of CAN's high school class of 2013, 99% of students completed a FAFSA; 97% were accepted to at least one college; and 87% enrolled in a post-secondary program. Among students in the class of 2012, 87% (of those whom enrolled) persisted from their first to second year of college, compared to 66% of low income first generation students nationally (Pell Institute).