INDIANAPOLIS - The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis has received a $7.9 million grant as part of the federal Education Innovation and Research program. The funding will support the development of a Rural Early College Network  to help rural Indiana schools implement dual credit programming. 

The funding will focus on launching Early College, a program that specifically targets underserved students and allows them to earn both high school diplomas and up to two years of credits toward bachelor’s or associate degrees through dual credit classes supported by wrap-around services.

The grant will be spread over five years and will support faster implementation of the Early College model by pairing new schools with mentor schools that have earned endorsement for high levels of effectiveness. 

“CELL is delighted to be awarded this significant funding to assist our rural Indiana high schools with accelerated implementation of high-quality Early College programs. The project will offer rural students, many of whom are first-generation college students, opportunities to take rigorous college-level classes while in high school in supportive environments that help ensure their success,” said CELL executive director Janet Boyle. 

The University of Indianapolis was the only Indiana grantee among the most recent round of Education Innovation and Research funding, which included 41 grants awarded out of 287 applications. The Education Innovation and Research program is administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.