Recent News & Blog

  Staff increases to support admitted student retention and boost awareness of 21st Century Scholars program as June 30 deadline approaches

From growing staff to partnering with over 100 community and business leaders to mentor young adults, Indy Achieves is making progress in its first year. This initiative was established by Mayor Joe Hogsett and is housed at EmployIndy to support Marion County students as they pursue a postsecondary degree or credential. Over the past few months, Indy Achieves has furthered relationships with IUPUI, Ivy Tech Community College, and the Commission for Higher Education to make it possible to bridge the education attainment gap in Marion County.

The broad goal of Indy Achieves is to address the Indianapolis skills gap of 215,000 residents who need job-ready credentials by 2025. EmployIndy is also putting the personnel in place to improve summer retention for students and increase public awareness of available (and often overlooked) financial aid for their postsecondary education.

One of the key components of Indy Achieves is the mentorship program. Yecenia Tostado, Associate Director of Indy Achieves, has taken lead in making this program a reality as the first connections were made between mentors and mentees in February 2019. Since its inception, this program has connected over 100 business and civic leaders with two to three college-bound students each by utilizing a text messaging system to send reminders about important deadlines, such as filling out an application, attending orientation, registering for courses, and more.

“Yecenia Tostado has been integral in building the Indy Achieves mentorship program from the ground up,” said Matt Impink, Executive Director of Indy Achieves. “Under her direction, we surpassed our recruitment goals and she has established a lasting model that provides flexibility and ease for students and mentors alike.”

With the mentorship program underway, the Indy Achieves team is focusing their efforts on an even younger population: middle school students. In 2017, only 51% of the eligible 8th grade Marion County students were registered for 21st Century Scholars, a program from Indiana’s Commission for Higher Education that grants full tuition scholarships for Hoosier students to attend an Indiana two- or four-year college after they complete high school. 

Esther Gamble, Indy Achieves Manager of Student Progress, recently joined the team and is working to increase awareness of 21st Century Scholars. From meeting with guidance counselors and sharing a 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Toolkit to speaking on the news, Gamble is going school to school, encouraging parents and educators to register their students before time runs out for graduating 8th graders on June 30, 2019.

In addition to grassroots promotion, EmployIndy is furthering awareness for Indy Achieves via an online and radio advertising campaign targeting parents and guardians as schools are reaching summer break.

“The growth of this program fulfills the vision of EmployIndy to remove barriers for all Marion County residents so every individual has the opportunity to excel,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, president & CEO of EmployIndy. “Indy Achieves creates an avenue to improve the future of the workforce by addressing the projected skills gap in Indianapolis.”

With available funding from Commission for Higher Education programs like 21st Century Scholars, students currently experiencing financial barriers have the opportunity to invest in their education. More good and promising jobs now than ever before require individuals to have some form of postsecondary training or education. In order to build up Indianapolis and open doors for our young people, it is crucial to utilize the education funding available.

The due date to register all Indianapolis graduating 8th graders for 21st Century Scholars is June 30th, 2019. For Marion County residents seeking application assistance, Indy Achieves aims to help so students can achieve their dreams – learn more at indyachieves.org/21cs.


Posted on February 4th, 2019 in Press Releases Tags:

Officials provide new tools to help boost enrollment at other Marion County schools based on Northwest’s success

February 4, 2019 – INDIANAPOLIS – Today, Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indy Achieves honored Northwest Middle School for successfully enrolling 100 percent of its eligible students in 21st Century Scholars – a feat no other school in Marion County accomplished in 2017. Indy Achieves awarded Principal Phil Shults and counselors with a trophy as Marion County Champion for top enrollment numbers on the first day of National School Counseling Week. Northwest Middle School’s success is at the core of a new online enrollment toolkit and additional staff support available from Mayor Hogsett and Indy Achieves to all Marion County schools. These resources are designed to help increase the number of applicants taking advantage of financial aid offered by 21st Century Scholars.

Currently Indiana’s most generous early commitment college promise program, 21st Century Scholars is an underutilized financial aid resource in Marion County with just 51 percent of eligible students enrolling to receive aid. Indy Achieves, housed at EmployIndy, is Mayor Joe Hogsett’s comprehensive education program established to make postsecondary degrees and credentials available to every Indianapolis resident. Key to reaching that mission is increasing efforts to help Marion County middle schools boost applications in 21st Century Scholars.

“As we continue to see the skills gap in Indianapolis increase at an alarming rate, we must remain committed to working harder, smarter, and more efficiently to ensure every student has access to the resources necessary to attain a postsecondary education, including financial aid,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Our schools are vital to students and their families, which is why we not only find it important to celebrate successes like Northwest Middle School, but to learn from them. Their success can help us, and others, think creatively and strategically about how we can enroll more students in 21st Century Scholars.”

Household size and income are used to determine eligibility for 21st Century ScholarsFamilies must enroll before June 30 following the student’s eighth grade year, and students must graduate high school with at least a 2.5 GPA. The 21st Century Scholars program will award students up to approximately $10,000 annually for postsecondary education, which reflects the maximum tuition and fees for Indiana’s public colleges.

“The 21st Century Scholars program represents a significant ongoing commitment to ensure that every Hoosier student has access to the opportunities a college degree provides if they work hard in school,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “We know that the efforts of school counselors and teachers are essential in spreading the word about our state financial aid programs and we are encouraged by the results of Northwest Middle School.”

“The innovative approach used by our school counselors at Northwest Middle School to ensure every student was contacted and every parent called, that home visits were made and incentives were awarded in order to achieve 100 percent enrollment in 21st Century Scholars, is truly to be commended,” said IPS Interim Superintendent Aleesia Johnson. “I applaud the efforts of the student services department and the entire school staff for making the dream of college a reality for all students regardless of individual barriers. I hope our best practices can be helpful to other schools.”

Through this effort, Indy Achieves is working to marshal additional resources, helping to provide school counselors with best practices for encouraging enrollment in their own schools. The Indy Achieves 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Toolkit includes steps for tracking eligible students, templates and resources, online links to valuable documents and Indy Achieves contact information. The information in the toolkit was gleaned from Marion County’s top schools enrolling 21st Century Scholars, including Northwest Middle School, and is designed to universally share tactics that have provided the best outcome for enrollment.

In addition to the Indy Achieves 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Toolkit, Marion County schools can receive staff support so that counselors can focus on outreach and lean on Indy Achieves to administer the data input.

For more information about Indy Achieves or the 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Toolkit, visit www.indyachieves.org.


Posted on November 1st, 2018 in Organizational Updates, Press Releases Tags:

INDIANAPOLIS – Today, Mayor Joe Hogsett joined leaders from Indy Achieves and Enroll Indy, as well as the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, to announce a unique partnership to streamline the 21st Century Scholars enrollment process for Indianapolis families.

For the first time, families of current 7th and 8th grade students completing Enroll Indy’s OneMatch application will be prompted to sign up for in 21st Century Scholars, a need- based early promise program that provides students up to four years of undergraduate tuition at any participating public college or university in Indiana. In 2017, only 52% of eligible Marion County 8th grade students enrolled in 21st Century Scholars. Hoping to engage more eligible students, this partnership between Indy Achieves and Enroll Indy strives to make the process easier for families.

“Today’s partnership advances the work we have been doing with the Indy Achieves program,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “We understand Indianapolis and its residents greatly benefit when everyone has the opportunity to obtain a quality education. It is my hope that this new partnership will continue to eliminate barriers, and increase our educational attainment rate.”

“Two of Enroll Indy’s core values are equitable access and community partnerships,” noted Enroll Indy Founder and Executive Director, Caitlin Hannon. “We believe that by forging strong partnerships throughout the city, we will reach more families and create more opportunities for all students. By working with Indy Achieves, we hope that families will take advantage of programs that will support their children beyond high school graduation.”

Statewide, 20,000 21st Century Scholars are enrolled in Indiana colleges and more than 100,000 are currently in the pipeline for postsecondary education. “Our most recent data indicate that 82 percent of all 21st Century Scholars go directly to college after completing high school and more Scholars are completing college than ever,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “We have seen the success of the program in the lives of graduates and must continue our efforts at the state, county and school levels to enroll all eligible students.”

In addition to the announcement of today’s partnership, Enroll Indy launched Year Two of its OneMatch web-based application process and presented Year One results today. OneMatch serves more than 100 K-12 Indianapolis Public Schools and charter schools, and in its first year, OneMatch received more than 9,000 applications to Indianapolis schools. Students and their families can access applications online today at http://enrollindy.org/onematch/apply/.