Lilly Endowment giving up to $30M to school counseling efforts

Lilly Endowment Inc. is ready to heavily invest in student counseling for grades K-12.

The endowment announced plans Friday to provide up to $30 million over the next five years to support counseling programs in public and charter schools in Indiana.

A request for proposal issued Friday gives schools an opportunity to apply for funding to learn about the best practices for comprehensive counseling programs, evaluate existing programs and develop and implement new plans to improve counseling efforts.

Non-competitive planning grants ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 and competitive implementation grants ranging from $100,000 to $3 million will be awarded. The size of each grant will be determined by student enrollment.

The implementation grants can be used during a four-year period, and applicants can request up to $100 per enrolled student.

“The Endowment’s aim is to help school corporations and charter schools eventually implement comprehensive approaches to school counseling that address the academic, college, career, and social and emotional needs of K-12 students,” Sara Cobb, vice president for education for the Endowment, said in a written statement. “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.”

Indiana isn’t highly regarded for its current counseling options at K-12 schools. According to National Association of College Admission Counseling, Indiana ranks 45th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for the number of K-12 students per counselor, with an average of 620 students for every counselor.

Counselors are also regularly assigned other non-counseling duties, such as administering exams.

In the statement, the endowment links the school counseling challenges to the state’s educational attainment and economic prosperity issues.

Cobb said addressing this issues “is critical to the future quality of life for Indiana residents.”

The application process and deadlines are posted on the endowment’s website.

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