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Rochester Education Foundation:  Because every child deserves a great education.
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The Rochester College Access Network


The Rochester College Access Network (RCAN) is focused on expanding college opportunities for Rochester students. The collaborative group was formed in 2013 as a program of Rochester Education Foundation. REF leads the group.


Members of RCAN include representatives from all our local colleges, not-for-profit groups including Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, Urban League, National Council of Jewish Women, and Ibero, Rochester City School District, Rochester Area Community Foundation, community and business representatives.


RCAN coordinates FAFSA Fest events in Rochester where students can obtain free assistance from trained volunteers to fill out and complete the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These events throughout the community enable students and their families to submit their FAFSA applications on time and accurately. In 2017-18 there were six events throughout the community.


For information on these events and information about affording college and local college events, please go to RochesterCAN website


Thanks to the following for their 2017-2018 support of RCAN and FAFSA Fest: ConServe, NYSFAAA, ESL Charitable Foundation, Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, Glover Crask Charitable Trust, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, The Community Foundation, Oppenheimer Funds, the City of Rochester, Rochester City School District, Monroe Community College Foundation, Channel 8-ROC, Paychex, REOC, Roc the Future, WDKX, and the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund.


RCAN also supports 10th grade visits to college for city students. These visits are ideal for giving young people a sense of opportunities on campus.


Additionally, our 9th grade "College Connect" program provides an informal college information program which allows 9th grader to talk to local college students over pizza.

Our mission is to support college access and success through communication, coalition and advocacy for students in Rochester to enable students to meet their full potential.

Why is this important? Our Rochester city students are less likely to go to college or graduate from college than other students in New York State. In fact, only 17 percent of RCSD students graduated from a four-year college from graduating classes of 2003 to 2007 - compared to 64 percent in New York State.

The Rochester College Access Network has worked with Rochester City School District to create the following baseline report on city student college access and success. Most of the information was obtained because Rochester City School District joined a national registry tracking where students go to college and whether they graduate. We are determined to change the picture in the report below through our work:

PDF RCSD Student College Access & Success Information, May 2014

What will it take to improve access to college for city students? Our focus is to support students by:

Photo: Ken Huth
The RCAN program aims to provide easier access to college for students in the Rochester City School District.
  • Setting community goals for college-going
  • Emphasizing the advantages of a college degree, including employment, monetary benefits and personal fulfillment
  • Marketing information about college, opportunities and requirements for college entry to parents, students, counselors, schools, and the community
  • Providing resources to young people
  • Sharing knowledge and expertise about college access and retention possessed by RCAN members, parents, students and community
  • Identifying and filling needs of parents, students, the RCSD, and network members
  • Improving the cooperation and collaboration between existing programs, opportunities, services and associations

We are targeting Rochester 6th-12th graders.

Our RCAN partners include:

  • The Rochester City School District.
  • Local colleges and universities: Bryant & Stratton College, Monroe Community College, Nazareth College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College, State University of New York at Geneseo, The College at Brockport: State University of New York, and the University of Rochester.
  • Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, Ibero-American Action League, Urban League, National Council of Jewish Women, Rochester Area Community Foundation.
  • Advocates for students in a variety of professions.

For more about the college access needs of Rochester city students, please take a look at the report on the topic that REF created for the Rochester Area Community Foundation in 2013: Success for Rochester City Students: Making College Attainable

Support the Program


We welcome the support of businesses and individuals who are committed to improving college access for city youth. Use the button at right to make a donation in support of the Rochester College Access Network. Want to talk about other ways to support this work? Call us at 271-5790 today!





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