College Access Now (CAN), a program the empowers area students from low-income families to enroll in and graduate from college at rates equal to their more advantaged peers, will be the Second Sunday/Share the Plate recipient April 14. From its beginning in 2005 at Garfield High School, CAN has grown to serve 1,050 students in 11 high schools in 4 school systems: Seattle, Renton, Highline, and Federal Way. The heart and soul of the program are AmeriCorps members, who give a year of service to this community. These national service members build one-on-one relationships with the high school students, and mentor them through the college application process. Of CAN’s high school students, 91% identified as students of color, and 90% would be the first in their families to attend college. Knowing that college entrance is the first step, CAN continues to work side-by-side with students through college graduation, and is mentoring more than 1,000 college students.
From its inception in 2005 through 2015, CAN had the following achievements:
- Enrollment in college within 1 year of high school graduation: 89% compared with 66% higher income households and 52% low income households;
- Persistence from year 1 to year 2 in college: 89% compared with 57% higher income households and 38% low income households; and
- Graduation with bachelor’s degree within 6 years: 67% compared with 61% higher income households and 31% low income households.