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About College Readiness and Success

CICF’s College Readiness and Success Initiative is focused on increasing the number of students who are prepared, enroll and complete post-secondary opportunities.

Why does this matter? It is estimated that by 2018, 55% of all Indiana jobs (60% of all US jobs) will require some sort of post-secondary credential (read more). However, in Indianapolis, less than half of all 9th graders will enroll in post-secondary opportunities immediately following their senior year, and far less will ever complete a post-secondary credential. Not surprisingly, low-income students face the greatest challenges and barriers to completing a post-secondary credential, including having the proper academic preparation, accessing financial and social support, and completing the necessary steps to access post-secondary opportunities. The majority (60%) of Indianapolis young people are considered low-income, thus are statistically least likely to earn a post-secondary credential needed to meet future workforce demands.

The following summary provides a broad overview of three efforts (College Readiness, Community-wide incentives and College Success) and many opportunities to invest in those organizations addressing these efforts within the Initiative:

College Readiness Programs

Many students are college ready, but not college bound because they lack the knowledge and understanding needed to enroll and succeed in post-secondary opportunities. Community-based and school-based college readiness programs ensure that youth know the necessary steps to access post-secondary opportunities:

Consider Supporting:

Center for Leadership Development: A community-based college readiness and counseling center primarily serving African-American students and their families though dozens of age appropriate weekly workshops to ensure that students enroll in post-secondary opportunities.

College Summit: School-based college readiness program that partners with high schools to increase the number and percentage of enrolled seniors who enroll in post-secondary opportunities by offering a leadership and college readiness course.

LaPlaza: Tu Futuro is a community-based college readiness effort that engages Hispanic families though workshops to help assist middle and high school students with pursuing post-secondary opportunities.

Starfish: One-on-One mentor program that supports high school students who have enrolled in the Indiana Twenty-first Century Scholar program, a state-supported financial assistance and college readiness outreach program that serves low-income students and their families.

Urban Mission Y: Community-based youth development and college readiness program that provides post-secondary assistance at various program sites around the city.


Community-Wide Incentives

CICF is leading community-wide efforts to improve city-wide outcomes, specifically targeting post-secondary enrollment. The Foundation currently is supporting two “award-based” programs that encourage low-income students to pursue post-secondary opportunities.

  • The Twenty-first Century Scholar (TFCS) Enrollment Challenge rewards middle school counselors who enroll over 75% of their students into the TFCS program. Studies show that low-income students enrolled in TFCS program are more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in post-secondary opportunities than any of their peers.
  • The FASFA Completion Project rewards local high schools for the total number and percentage of seniors that complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form accurately and on-time. Many low-income students choose to forgo post-secondary opportunities because they have not accessed financial assistance or aid. Each “award-based” program costs approximately $10,000 to administer.

Consider Supporting:

Indiana Youth Institute: State-wide youth development training and development organization with particular expertise in research, youth advocacy, and college readiness. IYI serves as the coordinating agency for both award-based initiatives.


College Success

Research funded by CICF indicates that only 20% of all Indianapolis high school graduates will complete college on-time. If less than 50% of all 9th graders enroll in post-secondary opportunities, then less than 10% will graduate on-time. On-time graduation is a measure of readiness and cost. Many of our students are not academically, financially, or socially prepared to succeed in post-secondary opportunities, especially low-income students. CICF funded research indicates that less than 10% of all low-income students enrolled in post-secondary opportunities graduated on-time, compared to 20% of the general population and 43% of students who earned an academic honors diploma, which is the most rigorous diploma offered by the State of Indiana. CICF is leading efforts to provide scholarships to support low-income students’ pursuit of post-secondary opportunities. The Foundation is also partnering with college-readiness organizations and Ivy-Tech to improve scholarship recipients’ post-secondary preparation and eventual success.

Consider Supporting:

The Indianapolis Foundation and Legacy Fund Community Scholarship Fund:

  • The Indianapolis Foundation Community Scholarship fund provides financial assistance to low-income applicants who live in Marion County and participated in one of the five college readiness organizations or two designated schools. The scholarship fund will explore additional efforts to prepare students of post-secondary success after receiving scholarship support. To minimize excessive financial burden or debt, the fund seeks to support up to 80% of total college costs by leveraging other scholarships, federal, state, and intuitional aid.
  • The Legacy Fund Community Scholarship fund was established in 2000 to support students from Hamilton County pursuing higher education. The fund operates in conjunction with the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program where students who have demonstrated a commitment to community service, leadership, academic achievement and financial need are interviewed and have the opportunity to be selected as a Legacy Fund Scholar. Each Indianapolis Foundation Community Scholar may receive up to $20,000 over four years and each Legacy Fund Scholar may receive up to $8,000 over four years.

IVY Tech Community College – Indianapolis: CICF is partnering with Ivy Tech Community College to provide three academic support programs: (1) College Readiness Centers in local High Schools, (2) College Success Workshops for Scholarship Recipients, and (3) Accelerated Associate Degree Program. Ivy Tech College Readiness Centers help improve the academic skills of high school students to help better prepare students for post-secondary opportunities and prevent students from taking remediation courses. College Success Workshops are only offered to CICF scholarship recipients to help encourage students to self-advocate for their post-secondary success. The Accelerated Associate Degree Program (ASAP) provides an alternative pathway to earning an post-secondary credential (Associate Degree) in just one year. The ASAP program costs $5,200 per student, per year.


Ways to make your grant?

1) Log on to CICF Connect.

2) Download a Grant Suggestion Form.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact your Personal Philanthropic Advisor at 317.634.2423.


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