WICHE's College Access Regional (CAR) Network is a collaborative effort that brings together state projects focused on increasing postsecondary access and success for low-income students. The CAR Network began as an effort to spur collaboration between states who were receiving the federal College Access Challenge Grant (CACG), which aims to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enroll and succeed in postsecondary education. In 2012, WICHE expanded eligibility for the Network to include other large scale programs focused on similar goals. As part of this effort, WICHE is working with state partners through two mechanisms: the College Access Challenge Grant Consortium and the College Access Regional (CAR) Network. While the level of WICHE-related services differ, both options allow state teams the opportunity to learn from each other, share best practices and lessons learned, and receive current evidence-based research.
Members of WICHE's College Access Regional (CAR) Network gathered in Bismarck on June 3 and 4 for discussions that included strategies for serving rural and underrepresented students, postsecondary pathways for disconnected youth, collaborative data sharing, and research on reducing "summer melt."
The agenda for the meeting is available here.
WICHE has released a new issue of Western Policy Exchanges that highlights research on the characteristics of effective coordination and collaboration of complex networks – such as those envisioned by many state CACG programs. The brief also includes examples from Louisville, Cincinnati, and Georgia to illustrate how those running CACG programs might structure their collaborative work to improve services offered to students and increase the sustainability of their projects. The brief is available here.
College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) Consortium
The CACG Consortium is comprised of Alaska and Idaho. WICHE-related services to the Consortium states include grant development and management, program implementation and evaluation, and ongoing expert consultation and guidance. Consortium states are also members of the CAR Network.
College Access Regional (CAR) Network
In the CAR Network, WICHE is working with the two CACG Consortium states, plus North Dakota and Utah to provide a forum in which staff involved in developing, implementing, and maintaining state access and success programs for low-income students can share and discuss issues related to the administration of their programs. Through two Network meetings and an interactive website, state leaders and policymakers share promising practices, lessons learned, common challenges, and the latest research.