The Commonwealth College Access Network--an organization of Virginia college and university financial aid, admission, and other support program leaders dedicated to improve postsecondary education access and attainment for all residents of Virginia--will hold is second annual conference Dec. 4-6 at the Omni in Richmond.

More than 200 individuals from more than 50 public and private agencies, organizations, school districts, and colleges and universities will attend the conference. Some 28 conference sessions will examine a variety of access issues, including state and federal financial aid programs, cross cultural issues, the impact on foster care on access, parent participation, and student retention.

"Providing all high school students from across Virginia, especially those from historically underrepresented populations and lower income families, access to higher education is essential to the future of Virginia and our nation," said Barry Simmons, vice president of Commonwealth College Access Network (CCAN) and director of university scholarships and financial aid at Virginia Tech. "CCAN can and will make a tremendous impact in Virginia and help many young men an women achieve their dream of a college degree."

Among its efforts to address the issue of accessibility, Virginia Tech recently launched "Funds for the Future". The program has led to an increase in the level of institutional funding of student financial aid in order to protect certain groups of low-income undergraduates from future tuition and fees increases and reduce unmet need for certain groups of low-income undergraduates.

The CCAN website provides more information on the organization and conference.