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Organizations – College Access & Admissions

The National College Access Network (NCAN) is a Washington, D.C.-based organization that provides resources and support to member organizations. NCAN defines a college access organization as “an entity that helps under-served students plan, prepare and pay for college.” An agency need not do all three of those things but must do at least one to be considered a college access organization. NCAN has a directory of college access organizations by state, and the leaders of such organizations are often eager to highlight their work or help shine light on issues within their field.


The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) offers guidance for those involved in various aspects of the college admission process, both at the collegiate and secondary school level. NACAC’s policies govern everything from how a college can represent and promote itself and its services to when a college should announce financial aid decisions to students. They also address appropriate and ethical conduct for high school counselors and college admissions officers. NACAC also publishes data on trends in college admissions through an annual report called The State of College Admission. The report is based on surveys of high school counselors and representatives of colleges and universities.

The College Board is known primarily for their SAT and Advanced Placement tests, which play critical roles in the college admissions process, both for students and admissions officers across the country. The College Board, however, does also have an Advocacy & Policy Center that actively researches key issues of college access and success. Their annual reports regarding trends in college costs and financial aid are key tools of the higher education beat.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators is the leading professional organization for university officials who manage the processes that award students financial assistance. Their advocacy and policy work on college affordability and student debt can serve as useful resources in reporting, and their national conference often highlights key issues regarding college costs.

The Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California, Los Angeles offers a number of resources regarding issues of college access and admissions, the most notable of which is their annual Freshman Survey. The survey gathers a range of information — from their academic background to their social lives — from the incoming class of college student

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) counts more than 11,000 postsecondary admissions and registration professionals around the world as its members. The association can be a helpful source of information regarding emerging trends on the university side of the college admissions process.

The Institute for College Access and Success is an advocacy group that works to promote college affordability. Based in San Francisco, they can offer perspectives on various aspects of college costs, such as net price calculators, student debt, and income-based repayment of student loans.