College Readiness & Success

Two studentsCICF’s College Readiness Initiative of Indianapolis is a community-wide effort committed to increasing the number of 6th through 12th grade students who are prepared to enroll and succeed in post-secondary education.

Why? Out of 100 students who start 9th grade in Indiana, 70 will complete high school and only 23 will receive a post-secondary degree by the age of 24! For the community to succeed and meet the demands of our future economy, we must work with our youth and our schools to achieve higher levels of academic attainment.


According to estimates, by 2025, sixty percent of all future jobs in the United States will require some form of post-secondary education. However, nearly one-third of all Marion County 9th graders will not graduate with their class on-time – the figure is even more alarming for the county’s low-income students, who represent approximately 50 percent of the student population.


Triple the number/percentage of Marion County low-income, first-generation 9th graders that enroll and succeed in post-secondary opportunities from an estimated 12 percent to 36 percent.

Since children spend more than 70 percent of their waking hours outside of school CICF partnered with Lumina Foundation for Education and the 21st Century Scholars Program to create the College Readiness Fund, whose focus is dedicated to improving out-of-school student support services.

Nearly 80 percent of youth in Indiana aspire to go to college, but many don’t realize that college preparation is a multi-year process of achieving specific milestones. Preparation includes successfully completing the right courses in high school, taking appropriate entrance exams, and meeting college application and enrollment requirements. Many students – especially first-generation students – don’t understand the pathway to achieving their dream of post-secondary success.

Our community can help kids understand what it takes to go to college via four instrumental areas of assistance:

  • Connecting youth to a caring adult to help navigate the college preparation process.
  • Supporting students so they achieve their highest academic standard.
  • Identifying appropriate post-secondary opportunities that will meet the student’s (and family’s) needs.
  • Assisting with identifying financial aid that will support students’ post-secondary aspirations.

To learn more about College Readiness, contact CICF Program Office Roderick Wheeler at 317.634.2423.

Impact Story

College Mentor For Kids

College Mentors foster the inspiration youth need to reach their potential and transform their lives. They give young people the education they sometimes need to change their attitudes and connect them with opportunities. And in the process, College Mentors help youth change communities.

For over a decade, this innovative non-profit organization has paired elementary school children with local college-aged mentors through their College Mentors for Kids program, a program that presents the opportunities of higher education to children. And through generous support from CICF and the College Readiness Fund, College Mentors for Kids expanded its programming to include middle school students (6th-8th grade).

College Mentors for Kids has played an important role with participating students by helping them improve their behavior, academic engagement and goals for the future. Teachers report their students displayed more self-esteem since entering their class, and children report they have tried harder in school since becoming involved in the College Mentor for Kids program. Even better, positive outcomes improve the longer a child is in the program. Thanks to CICF’s investment, youth will now be able to participate for as many as eight years, which promises tremendous returns for youth and communities.