IU Northwest to prepare Northwest Indiana’s middle schoolers for college, thanks to support from Lilly Endowment Inc.

IU Northwest to prepare Northwest Indiana’s middle schoolers for college, thanks to support from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Indiana University Northwest is honored to be the first host-site of a new Kids College program, thanks to a $899,541 grant funded from Lilly Endowment Inc. The funding will allow for the Kids College program to expand to three additional IU campuses in the following two years.

Launching in summer 2023, the Kids College program will provide 75 to 100 rising, local sixth, seventh and eighth graders with simulated college experiences on the Northwest campus that will focus on varying themes and disciplines. The program will empower students, particularly those from historically underrepresented and low-income populations, to prepare for their future in higher education.

The grant is funded through Lilly Endowment’s Indiana Youth Programs on Campus initiative, which is designed to help Indiana colleges and universities to engage youth, ages 5 to 18, in high-quality on-campus enrichment programs that can help young people envision a future for themselves in college.

“This grant is a fantastic investment by Lilly Endowment that will expand opportunities for the region’s students to explore future career and college opportunities,” said Ken Iwama, Chancellor of IU Northwest. “When a child can envision their future, they are more often successful in fulfilling their dreams, goals, and aspirations. Kids College will place them in that environment, which will position them to soar.”’

21st Century Scholars program

A critical component of Kids College will be to connect the students and their families to the 21st Century Scholars Program, the state program that provides up to four years of undergraduate tuition and support to income-eligible students attending participating colleges or universities in Indiana.

Another component to the program is participation in a successful college access and readiness curriculum called Middle School Crew, where the prime focus is on preparing eligible students to complete the 21st Century Scholars Program application and go on to fulfill the programs requirements in middle and high school.

Middle School Crew was started under the leadership of Yolanda Trevino, assistant vice president for student success during her time as assistant vice president for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs by Community & School Partnerships and the IUB 21st Century Scholars Program.

According to the Indiana 21st Century Scholars Program, approximately 50 percent of income-eligible students who have access to the scholarship funds do not register to receive the aid available to them. The program’s goal is to ensure that 100 percent of Kids College participants who are eligible for the 21st Century Scholarship complete the application on time and take advantage of the additional programs throughout their primary and secondary school careers.

A welcomed return

The return of Kids College to the Northwest campus is welcomed news by many, as the program was once a well-attended summer program for eager, young Northwest Indiana students. The program ran for more than 10 years, but unfortunately, stopped offering courses in 2016.

Additional details regarding Kids College 2023 will be forthcoming. Please continue to visit www.iun.edu for more details.