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Friday, December 3, 2021

Program offers opportunity to underperforming students

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Martin University and Indianapolis Public Schools have joined forces to give a certain segment of high school graduates an opportunity to attend college through a new program.

“Martin University has a rich history of recognizing students for who they can become and what they can achieve,” said Dr. George Miller III, president of Martin University. “For students who are serious about their education, Martin University extends a warm welcome and an opportunity to improve the quality of their lives.”

Beginning this fall, IPS students who receive a waiver instead of a general or Core 40 high school diploma, can enroll in the Pathway to Opportunity program at Martin.

This segment of graduates are students who have failed end-of-course assessments and the state of Indiana’s expectation that each student passes the state’s graduation examination and graduates with a Core 40 diploma.

“We have a number of students that have to learn English as a second language, special education students and many students who haven’t passed end of course assessments,” said Dr. Eugene White, superintendent of IPS. “There are students who don’t fall in either of those categories that just woke up their junior year and said ‘oh god what am I going to do’ and started working. It’s hard to make up four years in two. These students are bright and can do it, but they did not get the wakeup call in time.”

He went on to say that students who have received waivers typically are unable to attend traditional four-year colleges like Indiana University or Ball State University. Although Indiana has a number of smaller colleges and universities and its community colleges are growing at rapid rates, Martin University is another option and a sure way for waiver students to seek higher education.

“At Martin, there is no throw-away student. We think every student should be included and no one is turned away from Martin if you do the things you need to do to enter the university,” said John Bartlett, a state representative and chair of the Board of Trustees for Martin. “We believe that if we address this issue, it’ll be good for Indiana because rather than going to the penitentiary, you’re a productive citizen.”

Under the direction of Dr. Amenti Sujai, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Stanley Singleton, vice president for student services at Martin, the Pathway to Opportunity program is designed to “position students to achieve academic success by building skills and learning success strategies to thrive at the university level.”

Pathway to Opportunity participants are guaranteed full admission to Martin University, but they must still enroll and seek financial aid like other Martin students. Bartlett said Pathway participants must also take the standard entrance exam, which assesses their academic level. Remedial courses will be provided as needed.

Martin University officials know that it’s not enough to just get into college but to pass courses. To ensure Pathway to Opportunity students are flourishing, they will receive: Financial aid literacy counseling; in-depth advising; academic support; and mentoring opportunities with faculty among other support services.

“Please do not understate the intimacy of Martin. This is a red carpet for students who (need a smaller education setting). We know you. This is what Historical Black Colleges and Universities have done throughout history and Martin is embracing these students too,” said Dr. Percy Clark, special assistant to the president.

Degrees that students can choose from include accounting, business administration, criminal justice, early childhood education, environmental science, psychology and religious studies among others. Martin even has two master degree courses: Community psychology and urban ministries.

The desired end result is that a student who graduated with a waiver will graduate from Martin University with a bachelor’s degree.

Pathway to Opportunity is in its infancy, and Martin University and IPS are working to secure scholarships and other opportunities to strengthen and grow the program.

This partnership is also part of Martin University’s current goals of not just increasing enrollment but doing so with younger students.

“Historically we have dealt with the adult learner and by being in the Brightwood area, most African-Americans know about Martin University. But we’re not just closing the door to (Blacks), we’re opening the door to everyone,” said Bartlett.

“Now, it’s going to be a place for older graduates and young graduates coming right out of high school. It’s a new day,” added White.

IPS and Martin have announced a formal partnership, but really any Hoosier from any school district with a waiver can enroll in the Pathway to Opportunity program.

Sujai and Singleton are prepared for and cheering for incoming enrollees of the Pathways to Opportunity program and Martin University. Despite having several college degrees, Singleton said Pathway to Opportunity students will find a comfortable haven in Martin University that will further guarantee their success.

“I’m a first generation student, so I can relate to them. Also a lot of staff members are Martin graduates so now they’re able to help (Pathway to Opportunity participants),” he said.

For more information, call Martin University’s student services at (317) 917-3372, email ssingleton@martin.edu, or visit martin.edu.


Tuition costs for Indianapolis colleges/universities

IUPUI – $6,850

Martin University – $13,680

University of Indianapolis – $19,690

Marian University – $20,800

Butler University – $26,806

Source: Collegestats.org

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