Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. is launching a five-year effort that could provide up to $30 million to Indiana schools to help boost their counseling programs. The Comprehensive Counseling Initiative aims to help students in elementary through high school prepare for academic, career and personal success. The endowment issued a request for proposals from schools seeking grants today.
The initiative will provide non-competitive planning grants ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 and competitive implementation grants ranging from $100,000 to $3 million. The amount will be based on student enrollment. The endowment says it plans to allocate up to $30 million for the initiative based on the number, size and quality of proposals submitted.
Lilly Endowment Communications Director Judith Cebula says Indiana has about one counselor for every 620 students, ranking the state 45th in the United States, according to the National Association of College Admission Counseling. The endowment says the initiative will help additional schools use a best practices comprehensive counseling model to prepare students for successful lives beyond high school.
Research from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce suggests Indiana school counselors are also often assigned non-counseling responsibilities, such as administering state tests or Advanced Placement exams, which puts more limits on their availability to students.
"We want to see a significant increase in the number of K-12 students in Indiana who are emotionally healthy and who realize academic success and graduate from high school,” says Endowment Vice President For Education Sarah Cobb. "We also want them to achieve the valuable postsecondary credentials, certificates and degrees that are essential for meaningful employment so they can compete and prosper in the global society in which they will live and work."
Cebula says Indiana currently lags in student counseling services.