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Fairbanks Foundation Commits Nearly $10 Million More in Funding for Marion County High Schools to Increase College Enrollment

Friday, December 8, 2023

The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation announced the second phase of its College Matters initiative with a request for applications offering up to $9.7 million in new funding for Marion County public high schools. This second phase, College Matters: Reversing the Trend, invites school leaders to submit proposals that identify proven or innovative strategies to increase college enrollment. The Fairbanks Foundation will award grants to up to six schools, which will provide them with the resources to plan and implement strategies that get more students to college. 
 
More than half of Marion County’s 2021 high school graduates did not enroll in college within one year after graduating, and Indiana and Marion County’s college enrollment rates have steadily declined over the past decade. Students from low-income households, Black students, and Hispanic and Latino students enroll in college at even lower rates than their white and higher-income peers. 
 
“Boosting college enrollment is key to the long-term prosperity of Marion County,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO of the Fairbanks Foundation. “With the surging demand for a workforce with some form of postsecondary education or training, having more college graduates would benefit the regional economy. For individuals, education beyond high school leads to a higher income and improved financial stability. The Foundation is proud to make College Matters one of our largest-ever initiatives because increasing college enrollment in Marion County can have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of individuals and on our community.” 
 
There are two steps in the competitive grant process for College Matters: Reversing the Trend. First, the Fairbanks Foundation is now requesting applications from any eligible Marion County public high school for one of up to six $20,000 short-term planning grants. These grants will support schools as they develop four-year plans to increase college enrollment using proven or innovative strategies, with an emphasis on Black and Latino students and students from low-income households. Proposals for the $20,000 planning grants are due at noon EST Feb. 1, 2024, and the grantees will be notified March 25, 2024. 
 
The schools that are awarded planning grants will then be invited to submit proposals for grants to fund their four-year implementation plans, with the possibility that the six schools could receive grants of up to $1.5 million each. The proposals for implementation grants are due July 31, 2024. 
 
For more information on the College Matters initiative and how Marion County schools can receive funding to increase the college enrollment rate, visit the College Matters webpage. 
 

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