Oct. 5, 2021 – Valparaiso, Indiana – Valparaiso University has received funding from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) to support the high school graduating class of 2021 as they transition to college. The ICHE, in partnership with the Indiana Department of Education, awarded a total of $428,973 to 20 college, university and community partners thanks to federal CARES Act funding.

The Learning Support Grant aims to help recent graduates who may have experienced learning loss due to school closures and the transition to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are very thankful to receive the ICHE grant,” said Lissa Yogan, Ph.D., assistant provost for faculty affairs and principal investigator for the grant. “These funds allow us to further develop programming and provide additional mentoring and tutoring for this unique first-year class.”

Valparaiso University’s Student Cornerstone Project will provide mentoring and community-building activities for up to 50 at-risk first-year students. The program is based on research that suggests community-building, additional tutoring support and programming to introduce first-generation students to college culture and procedures provide a strong first-year foundation. Teachers and a counselor from Michigan City High School will assist with program development and training of faculty, peer mentors and student life staff, particularly as it relates to understanding how this cohort’s high school experience was impacted by COVID and online instruction.

The students will travel to Chicago for some educational programming as well as complete an assessment of their college readiness. Assessment results will be used to develop additional programs to support this cohort as they progress through their first year at Valpo.