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New seamless admissions initiative to reduce barriers to college for IPS students

IU Indianapolis, IPS, EmployIndy partner on new initiative

A new initiative will make it easier for Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) students to enroll at Indiana University Indianapolis by automatically admitting those with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Instead of students having to apply, supply their high school transcripts and pay an application fee, qualifying students will be automatically admitted after filling out a short online form.

“IU’s Indianapolis campus has a longstanding community-engaged mission and commitment to urban education and our central Indiana community,” interim IUPUI Chancellor Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch said. “Ninety percent of the graduates from our Indianapolis campus stay in Indiana after school and give back to the state. This is just one way IU is fueling the state’s talent pipeline and making a positive difference in the lives of our students, their families and the broader community.”

Beginning this fall, IPS students who meet the requirements will receive an email and postcard letting them know they qualify for admission to IU Indianapolis and can “opt in,” with the first of these students being admitted to IU Indianapolis for the fall 2024 semester. IUPUI will officially transition to IU Indianapolis in summer 2024. IU admissions counselors will visit participating high schools this fall to familiarize students and counselors with the new process and answer any questions.

“This is an important step to give more students the opportunity to pursue higher education,” IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said. “By eliminating deadlines, application fees or the need for a transcript, we hope this new initiative will give more students the chance to go to school right here in Indianapolis.”

This Indianapolis-focused initiative expands on the statewide initiative launched by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in August, which lets high school seniors know of their options for postsecondary education.

Tania Gualajara is a sophomore at the IU School of Nursing in Indianapolis who graduated from Crispus Attucks High School. She said the seamless admissions will help future students.

“I knew I wanted to be a nurse since I had surgery at Riley Hospital for Children several years ago, and there was one nurse I’ll never forget,” Gualajara said. “She seemed like she truly loved her job, and she even wrote me a card after I left the hospital. To be able to pursue nursing at IU Indianapolis is exactly where I want to be. But I remember how daunting and stressful the application process was. To remove that, I believe, will relieve a lot of stress for high school students today.”

The seamless admissions initiative builds on a longstanding partnership between IU’s Indianapolis campus and IPS, which touches dozens of schools and includes tutoring, mentoring, college and career readiness, and STEM-focused programs.

The effort will be funded by the five-year New Skills Ready Network initiative launched by JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2020. The initiative provides six cities — including Indianapolis — with a $7 million investment to improve student completion of high-quality career pathways. The collaborative team, led by EmployIndy and including both IPS and IU, is working to ensure seamless transitions between high school and higher education and beyond. 

“This initiative aligns the work we do in education with current workforce needs,” said Marie Mackintosh, president and CEO of EmployIndy. “Too few students in Indianapolis today are clear on their career plans after graduation, and many hesitate to enroll in higher education. At EmployIndy, we partner with IPS and many other districts to ensure students are prepared for their futures by connecting businesses and education through a wide spectrum of career-connected learning opportunities. This is the perfect example of collaboration between state and local partners to benefit not only our students, but also the city of Indianapolis and central Indiana as a whole.”

IU, IPS and EmployIndy are committed to ensuring that students are supported from the moment they’re admitted through the seamless admissions initiative. Students will have access to resources at the Indianapolis campus that include career and advising services, as well as the Indy Achieves program, funded by the city of Indianapolis.