Press Releases | September 26, 2012

The Mind Trust, IPL announce college-enrollment push

Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) and The Mind Trust today announced an effort to dramatically increase college enrollment rates among students at IPS’ George Washington Community High School.

IPL has awarded $250,000 to The Mind Trust, a nonprofit driving innovative K-12 education reform in Indianapolis, to expand College Summit, a national nonprofit working to boost college attendance rates among low-income students, at George Washington. The Mind Trust brought College Summit to Indianapolis in 2007 and continues to support the organization.

College Summit has served seniors at George Washington since 2009. IPL’s gift enables College Summit to expand the program to also serve freshman and sophomores, making George Washington the only IPS high school where College Summit reaches underclassmen. With IPL’s grant, College Summit has increased the number of students served at George Washington from 80 to more than 450.

“IPL’s support allows us to touch more students and at an earlier age,” said College Summit Executive Director J.T. Ferguson. “That ensures we are having a greater impact on students’ college enrollment and their completion of post-secondary education.”

As part of the college-enrollment push, IPL employees also will volunteer at the school on a monthly basis by sharing stories of their college experiences, conducting mock job interviews, and offering tutoring and homework help. Today’s announcement of the college-enrollment effort took place as IPL volunteers helped George Washington students fill out college applications as part of CollegeGO! week, during which some Indiana schools waive college application fees for students.

Later this fall, IPL employees will host more than 200 George Washington students at various company sites to expose them to career opportunities.
“IPL strongly believes that investing in our youth is one of the most critical things we can do for our community,” said Ken Zagzebski, IPL’s president and chief executive officer. “Our partnership with College Summit will make a meaningful difference in the lives of young people attending IPS’ George Washington Community High School. This partnership allows IPL to strengthen our relationship with the school and creates a culture at the school in which every student can see college as a real option.”
College Summit fosters a college-going culture in high schools and helps students to navigate the college application process. Freshmen and sophomores in the program take classes to help understand their academic strengths, make wise course decisions, learn about college and career opportunities and financially plan for college. Rising seniors attend a four-day College Summit workshop to learn how to apply for college, and during senior year, they’re provided with support as they apply for college and seek financial aid.
In the last academic year, 42 percent of George Washington seniors who participated in College Summit enrolled in college, nearly five times the 9 percent college enrollment rate among non-participants at the school. IPL’s $250,000 gift will fund College Summit at George Washington through 2014.

“We are so grateful to IPL for the generous grant to The Mind Trust to support the extraordinary work College Summit does to ensure all students in our community have access to a college education,” said David Harris, The Mind Trust’s Founder and CEO. “Expanding College Summit’s presence at George Washington Community High School will make a meaningful impact on the lives of students there.”

This year, College Summit is serving 2,139 students across seven Indiana schools, including five in Indianapolis. College Summit is among 12 innovative education organizations The Mind Trust has brought to Indianapolis or helped to launch in the city.