CICF News / 2010 / September / News Post
September 21, 2010
CICF increases Marion County Twenty-first Century Scholar 8th Grade Enrollment by 55%

Over 1,300 additional Marion County eighth-grade students joined the Twenty-first Century Scholars Program as the result of the CICF Twenty-first Century Scholars Enrollment Challenge. Designed to bolster enrollment efforts made by school representatives, the “challenge” was a $6,000 incentive program made possible by CICF (Central Indiana Community Foundation) as part of its College Readiness Initiative and was funded by The Indianapolis Foundation (a CICF affiliate) and Lumina Foundation for Education.

Created in 1990, the Twenty-first Century Scholars Program is Indiana’s way of raising the educational aspirations of low and moderate-income families, and is meant to ensure that all Indiana families can afford a college education for their children. The additional 1,300 students increased 8th grade student participation in Marion County from 39 percent to 60 percent – a net increase of 55 percent. The deadline for enrollment was June 30, 2010.

CICF’s challenge program was held in partnership with the Twenty-first Century Scholars Regional Support Site, The Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation (OEI), and the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC). The program rewarded school representatives with Simon Gift cards of at least $100 and no more than $400, for increasing student enrollment into the Twenty-first Century Scholars program.

To be eligible for the Twenty-first Century Scholars program, students must fulfill a pledge that includes earning a high school diploma, achieving at least a 2.0 grade point average (out of 4.0), agree to not use alcohol or drugs, or commit crimes, apply for admission to an eligible Indiana college or university or proprietary school, and apply for state and financial aid on time. They must also meet other requirements, including participation in the federal free/reduced lunch program, placement in foster care, or a family income at or below the program maximums.

In recent years, between 50 and 60 percent of all Marion County public school eighth-graders have been eligible to enroll in the program. Of the students that enrolled in the Twenty-first Century Scholars program and graduated in 2009, 92 percent graduated from high school and 68 percent enrolled in some form of post-secondary opportunity. Comparatively, the state’s current graduation average is 81.5 percent, and an estimated 62 percent of all Indiana high school graduates enroll in post-secondary opportunities immediately following high school graduation.

Every middle school in Marion County was invited to participate in the challenge. CICF provided more than $6,000 in incentives to reward 33 school counselors, representing 28 schools that successfully achieved individual enrollment targets.

“The Twenty-first Century Scholars program is a very valuable program, one that has successfully encouraged low-income students to prepare for, and seek post-secondary opportunities,” said Brian Payne, President of Central Indiana Community Foundation and The Indianapolis Foundation. “As part of our College Readiness Initiative, the enrollment challenge was meant to further that success, and we’re extremely pleased with these results, and also with this great partnership between CICF, the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation and the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee. CICF will continue to leverage community partnerships and work with local school districts to launch additional performance-based incentive programs that will ultimately raise the bar in preparing our young people to succeed in post-secondary opportunities.”

“Students who enrolled in the Twenty-first Century Scholars program, and those who participate in college readiness activities, are much more likely to take rigorous college preparatory courses in high school and enroll in a post-secondary education,” according to Seana Murphy, State Director of the Twenty-first Century Scholars program. “We are delighted by the results of CICF’s Twenty-first Century Scholars Enrollment Challenge, and believe it will make a difference in the lives of the children who enrolled, as well as their families and communities.”

On Wednesday, September 22, 2010, at 1:30 p.m., the Enrollment Challenge Partnership will announce its 2010-2011 incentive program as a part of College Go Week! at the Wayne Township Chapel Hill 7th & 8th Grade Center located at 7320 W. 10th Street, 46214. CICF has set a county-wide goal of enrolling at least 75 percent of all eligible seventh-graders and 90 percent of all eligible eighth-graders by December 31st, 2010. A luncheon will also be held in February to honor the schools that achieved high enrollment rates during the previous school year and to announce this year’s Twenty-first Century Scholars Enrollment Challenge incentive program county-wide.

For more information about the Twenty-first Century Scholars Enrollment Challenge, please contact Jonika Hudson, 317.274.1592, or, or find additional information here. For more information about CICF’s College Readiness Initiative, please contact Roderick Wheeler at 317.631.6542, ext 138, or, or visit the College Readiness section of our site.

For more information about the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation, please call 317.327.3601

About Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF)

Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) is a $550 million public foundation transforming the lives of central Indiana residents in three ways: consulting donors, family foundations and their professional advisors on charitable giving; awarding grants to effective not-for-profit organizations; and providing leadership to address community needs and seize opportunities. CICF was established in 1997 as a partnership between The Indianapolis Foundation, serving Marion County since 1916, and Legacy Fund, serving Hamilton County since 1991.

For more information about CICF, call 317.634.2423 or visit the About CICF section of our site.

About the Twenty-first Century Scholars Program

The Twenty-first Century Scholars program, established in 1990 by the State of Indiana, encourages low-income middle school students to prepare for post-secondary opportunities. In exchange for academic and civic accomplishments during high school, enrolled students receive post-secondary tuition assistance to attend any public college or university in the State of Indiana.

Parents or guardians must enroll their child(ren) between 6th and 8th grades to qualify to receive the Twenty-first Century Scholarship. Students are also required to sign a pledge that promises they will: (1) graduate from an accredited Indiana high school with a diploma and at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average, (2) abstain from the use of alcohol, drugs or committing a crime, (3) apply for college admissions, and (4) complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form on-time.