About Us

The Illinois College Access Network (IllinoisCAN) seeks to improve postsecondary access and success for low-income and first-generation college students in Illinois.

In Illinois, hundreds of college access providers work to support a growing population of low-income and first-generation college students facing academic, financial and social support challenges to college access and success. Collaboration among these college access providers is key to augmenting the limited resources to support students.

The Illinois College Access Network (IllinoisCAN) is the forum for that collaboration. The mission of IllinoisCAN is to improve postsecondary access and success for low-income and first-generation college students in Illinois. IllinoisCAN builds the capacity and effectiveness of college access organizations, local initiatives that provide student advisement and financial aid, in order to help students reach their goals.

IllinoisCAN focuses on four objectives:

  • Increasing visibility of Illinois’ college access programs and services;
  • Disseminating college access research and best practices;
  • Providing professional development and technical assistance for college access providers;
  • Facilitating communication and collaborations among college access providers.

Aligned with the National College Access Network (NCAN) and serving as the Illinois statewide network, IllinoisCAN is uniquely positioned to stimulate and manage multi-directional communications and partnerships between national and local efforts. IllinoisCAN’s work is grounded in the perspectives of its broad base of members, over 50 organizations and 200 individuals, who contribute their expertise as direct service providers, advocates, funders and researchers. IllinoisCAN fosters dialogue and implements cooperative strategies to effect change by organizing members and other interested parties around college access and retention issues.

College access organizations demonstrate elevated college matriculation and graduation rates for the students they serve. The success measures of college access and retention programs are gains in human capital vital to the social and economic future of Illinois.