College and Career Access, Persistence and Success (CCAPS)


• Mara Botman (Circle of Service Foundation)
• Dinaz Mansuri (The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Foundation)

College and Career Access, Persistence, and Success (CCAPS) is a learning community focused on increasing postsecondary opportunities and outcomes for Chicago-area students. CCAPS broadly defines postsecondary education to include both 2- and 4-year colleges and universities as well as progressive postsecondary pathways. Our learning agenda explores:

  • Preparation and access to postsecondary education opportunities
  • Enrollment, persistence, and success in postsecondary education
  • Successful transitioning to careers that meet aspirations

We learn together for the purpose of putting our learning into action, either through our individual organizations or through collective action

Research and Reports

In 2014, a CCAPS working group formed with the purpose of increasing clarity, consistency, and efficiency for college access and success service providers and funders in grant application, diligence, and reporting processes. After consulting with a wide range of nonprofits, researchers, school district administrators, and funders, the working group produced the CCAPS Common Application, Diligence, and Reporting Tool (“Common Tool”), which was most recently updated in February 2017.

CCAPS has also worked with consultants to learn more about the post-secondary landscape and explore how to increase college access and completion rates, generating the following reports:

The most recent report, Concept Paper: Prioritizing College Completion In and Around Chicago, calls for the launch of the Partnership for College Completion, a new organization with the mission to catalyze and champion policies, systems, and practices that ensure all students – particularly low-income, first-generation students – graduate from college and achieve their career aspirations. Learn more about the Partnership for College Completion at their website.

In addition to the college completion work being taken on by the Partnership, a number of other postsecondary priorities were identified in the Stakeholder Feedback and Recommendations for Advancing Chicago’s Postsecondary Access and Success Report.  The Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance launched a Progressive Postsecondary Pathways Fund to promote the development of a Chicagoland education and workforce system with a seamless transition from secondary to post-secondary programs by expanding the universe of transparent and accessible progressive pathways to postsecondary success. Here is an overview of the Progressive Postsecondary Pathways Fund.

In early 2017, a small group of foundations and college and career access, persistence, and success nonprofits came together to determine the feasibility of a common report to funders in an effort to streamline reporting. Nonprofits often spend inordinate amounts of time compiling different reports in different formats for different funders, even though much of the requested information is actually very similar (if not the same). After a number of discussions and iterations, the working group drafted a common reporting framework which recommends a combination of semi-annual reports and quarterly checklist updates.

The new common report would allow nonprofits to save time by completing the same report for participating funders at pre-set times throughout the year while at the same time ensuring that funders receive the information they need to inform their support and decision-making. The plan is to pilot this approach throughout the next year with four organizations, including Bottom Line, Chicago Scholars, OneGoal, and Network for College Success. You can find the Common Reporting Framework here. If you are interested in joining the working group to pilot the Common Reporting Framework with your foundation, please email Key Montgomery at


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