Ivy Tech awarded $2.6 million grant to increase educational attainment rates of at-risk youth

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana has received a $2,340,000 grant from Lumina Foundation for Education and a $270,000 grant from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to increase the educational attainment rates of at-risk youth through an accelerated associate degree program.

The grant will help provide at-risk students the opportunity to earn a marketable and transferable associate degree in just ten months, rather than the traditional 2-year timeframe.  The program will be offered through the college’s Indianapolis and Fort Wayne campuses. Students participating in the program will be identified while still in high school.

“We are excited to bring this program to the Indianapolis and Fort Wayne areas and are grateful to Lumina and the Commission for providing us the funding to help these students obtain a college degree at little or no cost to their parents,” said Thomas J. Snyder, President of Ivy Tech Community College. “In today’s uncertain economy, there are few guarantees for anyone who enters the workforce, but these students will have the 21st century skills and expertise to prepare them for the changing job market or to enter a 4-year university better prepared for the challenge.”

In order to facilitate the accelerated nature of the program, students will receive their instruction according to a daily schedule similar to what they followed in high school with classes beginning early in the day and lasting through the afternoon. Faculty will structure the curriculum in a manner they consider to be most conducive for delivery in an accelerated format. Upon completion of the associate degree, depending upon the area of study chosen, students will be able to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program at a four-year institution or enter the workforce.

“The accelerated associate degree program will provide a living lab that, if proven successful, can be modeled across the state and nation,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina Foundation. “It incorporates multiple components to improve student success in college, including early assessment of college readiness, remediation in high school and through a pre-college summer boot camp. It also includes fulltime study in the college program, a stipend to reduce outside work hours coupled with a full tuition award, a compressed curriculum and a range of support services”.

Students selected for this program will be required to demonstrate college readiness and must be motivated to succeed in higher education. In return, they will receive a college degree at minimal or no cost that will lay the groundwork for a lifetime of success.

“The promise of the accelerated degree program is that students who might otherwise be at risk of not succeeding in the college environment will have better preparation for the job market and ongoing education,” said Teresa Lubbers, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education. “As we adapt higher education to meet the needs of a modern workforce and an ever-changing population, it’s essential that we embrace new models that support higher levels of college completion and student success.”

Planning for this program and identification of students to participate is scheduled to begin soon and will last the remainder of the 2009-10 school year. The director of the program will work closely with key personnel in the Indianapolis Public Schools and Fort Wayne Community Schools to ensure selection of students who are a good fit with program expectations. The first group of students will enter the program in the Fall of 2010. The total length of the grant is 3.5 years with the expectation of serving hundreds of students by the time it concludes.

Lumina Foundation for Education is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college — especially low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Our goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change.

For more details on the Foundation, visit www.luminafoundation.org.

About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech is one of the nation’s largest statewide community college systems and the state’s second largest public post-secondary institution with more than 120,000 students enrolled annually. Ivy Tech has 23 campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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