This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Indiana.
Students attending Indianapolis Public Schools who have a grade point average of at least 3.0 will receive automatic admission to Indiana University Indianapolis.
The major initiative announced Wednesday aims to make higher education more accessible for IPS students. In addition, those qualified students won’t have to fill out an application, provide a high school transcript, or pay an application fee to attend the university. The effort applies to students in the four high schools IPS manages directly: Arsenal Tech, Crispus Attucks, Shortridge, and George Washington.
“We know that this partnership with IU Indy bridges the gap between high school and higher education,” IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said during the announcement at Crispus Attucks High School. “[It] empowers our students to pursue advanced coursework and broaden their horizons.”
The announcement comes as the state embarks on a broad push to make high school students aware of their higher education opportunities.
A new law requires Indiana students to fill out the application for federal aid next year, with certain exceptions. And this month, some Indiana high school seniors began receiving pre-admission letters to certain higher education institutions through an Indiana Commission for Higher Education initiative; that initiative still requires students to apply, even if they are pre-admitted.
Indiana University Indianapolis is still known as Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, or IUPUI, but will officially rebrand as IU Indianapolis in the summer of 2024 following an agreement between IU and Purdue to split and operate two separate campuses.
IPS students who meet the GPA requirement will receive an email and postcard indicating they qualify for admission to IU Indianapolis this fall, and can opt in to attend the school. They will receive automatic admission after filling out an online form. The first cohort of admitted students will attend the university in the fall of 2024.
The initiative is funded by the New Skills Ready Network initiative by JPMorgan Chase & Co., which selected Indianapolis as one of several cities to receive $7 million to help students complete high-quality career pathways.
IUPUI is one of the three most popular colleges that IPS students apply to, Johnson said.
In 2023, 64% of graduating seniors at IPS reported plans to enroll in a two- or four-year college, Johnson said. This year, that figure is 72% for the class of 2024.
Statewide, the college-going rate for high school seniors is roughly 53% for the class of 2021, the latest data available.
Crispus Attucks High School senior Amy Gaytan said she’s excited about the new initiative because it will help ease some of the stress of her senior year. She hopes to study nursing at IU Indianapolis, and has been working through dual-credit classes currently offered through her school and the college.
“I was a little bit worried (about) starting to find scholarships and to apply for colleges and all that stuff, and with all my classes that I take here and [at] IUPUI, I was just overwhelmed,” she said. “But when I heard about the opportunity here, I was just very excited.”
Chalkbeat Indiana is a not-for-profit news site covering educational change in public schools.