Inclusion, Access, and Success

The Inclusion, Access and Success Committee shall advance the association’s commitment to inclusion for underserved students and the educational professionals who guide them. Contact this committee.  


Natalie Garza, Chair
St. John's School (TX)

Linda Binion
King George High School (VA)

Cecilia Grano De Oro
North Broward Preparatory School (FL)

Jonathan Hoster
Syracuse University (NY) 

Christine Loo
The Stony Brook School (NY)

Andrew Moe
Swarthmore College (PA)

Sean Ohira
Chaminade University of Honolulu (HI)


Committee Update 2020

Removing Microbarriers for Students from Low-Income Backgrounds

The rising demand for a college-educated workforce has led to an increase in the pursuit of postsecondary education. Yet, the achievement of this pursuit often poses a serious challenge for low-income students who are unable to contend with the many costs associated with college attendance. Students and parents must often grapple with the challenges that arise when making difficult financial decisions related to payment of the various fees and deposits that are required for matriculation.

In the May 2019 Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018 published by the Fed, it was noted that if faced with an unexpected expense of $400, “27 percent [of adults] would borrow or sell something to pay for the expense, and 12 percent would not be able to cover the expense at all” (p. 2). Given what we know about the increasing cost of higher education and the many microbarriers that impede the ability of low-income students to pursue such opportunities, NACAC’s Inclusion, Access, and Success Committee (IAS) is ever faithful to its charge of supporting college access among underserved students.

Students from low-income families face many financial obstacles in the form of microbarriers in the college admission process. These include various fees for testing, applications, and sending scores, as well as housing and enrollment deposits. Microbarriers like these are just the start; many higher-income families can pay for test preparation, private counselors, visits to campuses, tutoring, and costly extra-curricular activities. While some of these fees - such as registration for standardized testing - may be waived for low-income applicants by the College Board and ACT, many may not qualify, falling just outside of the waiver threshold. Institutions are also reducing costs by accepting self-reported testing and employing innovative ways to waive application fees, such as for first-generation students or those working with college access organizations.

Still, there’s work to be done. Changes to the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (CEPP) as a result of the Department of Justice investigation seem likely to result in increased enrollment deposits at many institutions. To that end, the IAS Committee requests that NACAC member institutions consider that such increases, particularly approaching this year’s May 1 National Candidates’ Response date, could exacerbate barriers for hundreds of thousands of low-income students.

NACAC is in the process of creating a document for students who have limited financial resources and for whom a deposit may create a significant hardship. We anticipate this document serving as a way to empower students who have great financial need to advocate for themselves in the admission process. NACAC understands institutions have various needs and challenges regarding enrollment deposit fees, so these concerns are being considered as well to create a resource that is beneficial to all stakeholders.

Today, many question the value of a college degree. We know that a degree is worth the investment and low-income students need help in reducing barriers to fulfill their dreams. Colleges publish first-year profiles to highlight the success of those who have chosen to attend.  Imagine the power of including the number of students who have made this same choice because a barrier has been removed.

In line with our vision to champion opportunity for ALL individuals to pursue higher education, we appreciate your partnership to promote access and equity by working to remove microbarriers for low-income students. If we can reduce such financial obstacles, then we can truly empower students for lives of personal achievement and contribution to the public good.

Selection of Video Essay Contest Winners

The IAS Committee recently selected the winners of NACAC's 2020 Video Essay Contest. The contest was open to high school juniors and seniors and community college students in Minnesota. They had to answer the prompt, "Why is continuing your education after high school important to you?"

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  • Lisa Eidum

    Lisa Eidum is the top winner of the 2020 Video Essay Contest and received a $5,000 scholarship. As of the 2019-2020 school year, Lisa is a junior at Rosemount High School in Rosemount, MN.

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  • Eh Ku Du Say

    As of the 2019-2020 school year, Eh Ku Du is a senior at Hmong College Prep Academy in Saint Paul, MN and plans to attend Minneapolis College of Art and Design this fall.

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  • Jeobani Reyes Leon

    As of the 2019-2020 school year, Jeobani is a junior at Richfield Senior High School in Richfield, MN.

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  • Lesly Rodriguez

    As of the 2019-2020 school year, Lesly is a junior at Burnsville High School in Burnsville, MN.

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  • Tejesh Cheepuru

    As of the 2019-2020 school year, Tejesh is a senior at Eden Prairie High School in Eden Prairie, MN and will be attending the University of Minnesota in Twin Cities this fall.

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  • William Blackwell Kinney

    As of the 2019-2020 school year, William is a senior at Central High School in Saint Paul, MN and will be attending Emerson College in Boston this fall.

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