A college application assistance initiative that began in a single North Carolina high school in 2005 has blossomed into a national effort that now spans more than 1,200 schools in 24 states and the District of Columbia.
The goal of the American College Application Campaign® (ACAC) is to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential, primarily by helping high school seniors navigate the college admissions process and apply to at least one institution.
The application campaigns are run independently in each state, with various public and private entities organizing the effort. ACAC provides technical assistance, training and other support to states and territories. The campaigns are conducted annually in late fall, during the school day, with a focus on students who might not otherwise apply to college.
ACE convened a national steering committee in 2010 with the aim of turning ACAC into a nationwide effort. In addition to ACE, the steering committee includes representatives from the U.S. Education Department, the White House Domestic Policy Council, Lumina Foundation, the Education Trust, the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Officers.
“As the higher education community works to expand access to college and increase the numbers of Americans with a college degree, it is vital to remove barriers that might prevent low-income and first-generation students from applying to a postsecondary institution,” said Bobby Kanoy, a senior fellow at ACE who helped launch the program in North Carolina as an associate vice president in the University of North Carolina System. “The ultimate goal is to equip more Americans with the education and skills needed to obtain a good-paying job.”
After North Carolina started the program in 2005, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Florida and Colorado followed. In 2011, Kentucky, Michigan and Minnesota were added to the ranks. 2012 saw the inclusion of Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
The goal is to have a total of 35 states and territories on board for 2013.
For more information on ACAC or to discuss your state’s goals and determine the level of assistance, support and materials needed to implement a college application event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-939-9488.
ACAC is supported by grants from The Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Bank of America Charitable Foundation.