State Awards More Than $135,000 To Support Graduating High School Seniors

(INDIANAPOLIS) The Indiana Commission for Higher Education, in partnership with Indiana Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), awarded $135,190 to 11 college, university and community partners to support the high school graduating students of 2020 as they transition to college 

The Summer 2020 COVID-19 Learning Support Grants aim to help students who may experience learning loss due to school closures and the transition to online learning, and will support collaborative efforts that fit within summer tutoring and pre-college boot camps. Programs will be focused on students who are most vulnerable to learning loss.

Summer learning loss – known as “summer melt” or “summer slide” – is a common issue for students, particularly in the areas of reading and mathematics. Summer learning loss is expected to be even greater heading into the fall, following the impact of COVID-19 and extended school closures. One study projects students will return to school in the fall having retained up to about 70 percent of their learning gains from a typical year in reading, while only retaining up to 50 percent of their learning gains in math.

“Hoosier students need support to move forward and navigate the higher education system during such unprecedented times,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “Low-income and underrepresented populations in particular are facing greater challenges related to technology access and other disruptions to their traditional learning environments. It’s critical we help all Hoosiers prepare for the already-challenging transition from high school to postsecondary education.”

The grants support opportunities for:

  • Summer tutoring
    • Following the model of the Tennessee Tutoring Corps, stipends will be allotted for current college-aged students to tutor graduating high school seniors.
  • Pre-college boot camp
    • Happening either virtually or in-person, “boot camp”/summer bridge-type activities will help students catch up and prepare for college-level coursework.

Summer 2020 Covid-19 Learning Support Grant recipients:

  • Ball State University – $1,620
  • Coates, Inc. – $4,700
  • Goshen College – $6,300
  • Indiana University Bloomington – $2,000
  • Indiana University Kokomo – $24,850
  • Indiana University Northwest – $8,500
  • Indiana University Southeast – $25,000
  • Ivy Tech Community College – $20,000
  • Marian University – $20,210
  • Notre Dame TRIO – $2,010
  • Purdue University Northwest – $20,000

For a list of program summaries the grants are supporting, click here.

Indiana universities and colleges are also focusing throughout the summer on a variety of opportunities to minimize learning loss, including integrating faculty more deeply as mentors throughout the summer and shifting staff roles to facilitate additional orientation activities for students. Some institutions are utilizing “badges” as students complete certain orientation activities, while others are centering on ensuring students in the 21st Century Scholars program, as well as other low-income and first generation students, are transitioning to postsecondary education as seamlessly as possible.

“Our institutions understand the challenges facing the incoming freshman class of 2020 and have been diligently working to ensure students have the support they need to access higher education prepare to succeed either on campus or online,” said Lubbers.

The Commission has compiled a list of the state’s public, private and proprietary institution webpages, as well as guidance on COVID-19 and more at