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Counties challenged to increase college completion

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The Indiana Commission for Higher Education is challenging local leaders from all 92 counties to form a College Success Coalition and become part of a growing statewide network of organizations working to increase college completion and student success.

Indiana currently ranks 40th nationally in college graduates with only a third of Hoosier adults having completed education beyond high school.

Workforce experts project that 60 percent of the state’s population will need a college credential by 2025 for Indiana to remain economically competitive.

“College completion has a significant impact on the quality of life and future earnings for Hoosiers,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “Rallying local communities around the common goal of college success is critical to meeting the needs of our students and our state.”

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education is a 14-member public body created in 1971 to define the missions of Indiana’s colleges and universities, plan and coordinate the state’s postsecondary education system, and ensure that Indiana’s higher education system is aligned to meet the needs of students and the state.

Over the past two years, the state has supported the development of College Success Coalitions in 35 Indiana counties. Collectively, these county coalitions have recruited nearly 1,000 local organizations and implemented more than 1,000 targeted activities designed to increase college access and completion.

Leadership at the county level is provided by a steering team that includes representatives from a local business, college, community foundation, faith-based organization, government, high school, news media, service club and youth-serving organization. Leadership teams from participating counties receive a $1,000 start-up award, ongoing training and technical assistance, and a $5,000 performance award once key requirements are met.

Up to 20 Indiana counties will be accepted into the College Success Coalition each year on a competitive basis until all 92 counties across the state have an active, sustainable local coalition. The state is currently accepting applications from local organizations interested in forming a county coalition during the 2012-13 school year, and an informational meeting for potential coalition members is scheduled for next month.

The College Success Coalition is an initiative of Learn More Indiana. Led by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Learn More Indiana is a partnership of state and local organizations working to help all Hoosiers plan, prepare and pay for college completion and career success. For more information, visit LearnMoreIndiana.org.

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