Indiana State University has received a $250,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. in the first phase of an initiative called Charting the Future for Indiana’s Colleges and Universities.

The first-phase “planning grants” are designed to “encourage reflection, research and consultation so leaders can better prioritize the challenges and opportunities they wish to pursue.”

Those challenges, Lilly Endowment noted, include declining higher education enrollment in Indiana, changes in federal funding policies for higher education, and competition from job training programs.

The initiative is encouraging collaboration by higher education with other colleges and universities and with business, government or charities.

“We thank Lilly Endowment for its generous support and for having the foresight to address these issues,” said Deborah Curtis, ISU president. “ISU will seize this opportunity to plan and pilot initiatives for students who, historically, have faced significant obstacles during the journey to graduation.”

Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education, stated, “We are encouraging Indiana’s higher education leaders to be bold and imaginative in developing creative and collaborative strategies to strengthen their institutions and further their educational missions more effectively. We are impressed with the dedication of Indiana’s higher education leaders to face head on their challenges and embrace their opportunities to build brighter futures for their students and colleges and universities.”

Eligible two- and four-year colleges and universities in the state can apply for second-phase “implementation grants” of $1 million, $2.5 million, or $5 million. Those grants are expected to be awarded in late 2020.

The third phase of the initiative will allocate $40 million in grants for “large-scale proposals that seek to address extraordinarily compelling challenges or opportunities” that require more funding than what’s available in phase-two grants.

Through three phases of the initiative, Lilly Endowment will grant $108.2 million.

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