Iowa LCAN Bulletin: September 2023

Iowa LCAN Bulletin



Happy September! We hope you have had a great summer as we get into the FY2024 grant year.  


The sunflower photos above from Sonia Reyes of Latino Affairs and Latinos CAN are a continuation of our last LCAN Bulletin. For those of you who were at the LCAN Conference last March, you will remember that we distributed sunflower seeds. We enjoyed the photos you shared after planting and growing your flowers and can you believe how big these sunflowers have gotten since those unexpectedly wintery days in March? 


Thinking about that late winter storm, compared with the summer heat wave we have recently experienced, there is a connection: the only constant is change. Just like the Iowa seasons change, we are experiencing many changes at Iowa College Aid and within the college access and attainment field. Two significant changes include: 

  • Iowa College Aid becoming a part of the Iowa Department of Education as the Bureau of College Student Aid and
  • FAFSA simplification changes that will result in changes to the application process and timeline for the 2024-2025 school year.  


As a result of the broader state government alignment that emerged during the 2023 legislative session, Iowa College Aid is now the Bureau of College Student Aid within the Iowa Department of Education. We are still learning how this impacts our LCAN work, and some processes and procedures may change. We will inform you of any potential impacts on LCAN from realignment.


As for FAFSA, the upcoming FAFSA simplification process, or “Better FAFSA,” will impact all students seeking financial aid, beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA cycle. Ideally, simplification will make the FAFSA - and student aid - easier to access. However, there will be a learning curve for students, families, and college access staff becoming familiar with new processes and requirements. Better FAFSA resources are linked below.


LCAN staff attends Better FAFSA training 

Anne Thomas and Megan Sibbel attended a conference hosted by the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) in July. The event focused on the upcoming changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA cycle and how these changes may impact students and families. We know the FAFSA will not open on October 1, as usual. The Office of Federal Student Aid projects that the FAFSA will open sometime in December. 


Please feel free to utilize the resources found here on NCAN’s website to learn more.


There are several upcoming opportunities to register for an NCAN webinar on the new FAFSA coming in December. August 28 and September 26 are the first two of five dates from now through December that NCAN will host a line-by-line review of the new FAFSA form. This webinar will also cover updates to the FSA ID process for people without Social Security Numbers, the FAFSA Submission Summary, and resources/tools available. See here for information about how to register.  



Rural college equity campaign and resources

DCAN (Dubuque College Access Network) Coordinator Donna Loewen shared exciting information about a rural equity initiative. The #RuralCollegeEquity Campaign was designed to raise awareness about educational attainment disparities faced by rural students when compared with their urban counterparts.


The campaign ran from July 31 through August 4 this year. While the campaign period has passed, there are plenty of ways to get involved and access resources to better serve rural students. See here for more information about groups and resources for professionals and students.  


NCAN Conference

The 2023 Annual NCAN Conference will take place October 16-18 in Dallas, Texas. This year’s conference, Uniting for Equity, Shaping the Future of Postsecondary Attainment, will feature roundtables, plenaries, and breakout sessions focused on the post-pandemic access and success landscape.


Pre-and post-conference sessions are also available. The pre-conference session focuses on mental health first aid, while the post-conference session will be an in-person opportunity for training on the new FAFSA. Click here for more information about the event and how to register.  

Rural Summit

The 2024 Rural Summit will be held April 28-30, 2024 in Lexington, Ky. This summit focuses on ideas and strategies for rural youth to transition from high school to college and career successfully. This summit was initially centered on rural college access and success and has expanded to a cradle-to-career focus.


Click here for more information about this event and how to register.