Supporting students

in accessing higher education


Questioni universitarie, a $15 million grantmaking initiative of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, seeks to increase college enrollment rates for Marion County high school seniors, especially for students less likely to enroll in college, including students from low-income households, Black students, and Hispanic and Latino students.

High school students face a variety of challenges when considering college, including accessing coursework that prepares them for college, identifying possible career options, and obtaining financial aid. For students without access to relevant support and resources, these challenges can turn into barriers that keep them from applying to and enrolling in college — furthering existing racial and socioeconomic disparities in education and worsening talent shortages in the Indy region.

To help remove some of these barriers and increase college enrollment, Questioni universitarie is awarding grants to Marion County public high schools and community organizations in two phases, Meeting the Moment and Reversing the Trend. The grantees in both phases will use the funding to support Indianapolis students and their families as they navigate the process of exploring, enrolling in and financing college.

Of all 2021 Marion County high school graduates, only 48% enrolled in college, down from 62% just a decade ago. 1
Only 39% of 2021 high school graduates from low-income households in Marion County enrolled in college, compared to 55% of their higher-income peers. 1
45% / 38%
In 2021, Black high school graduates and Hispanic and Latino high school graduates in Marion County were less likely than others to enroll in college, with 45% of Black graduates and 38% of Hispanic and Latino graduates enrolling compared with 63% of their Asian peers and 52% of their white peers. 1
In 2023, only 39% of Marion County seniors completed the FAFSA. 2

1 Indiana College Readiness Dashboard2 Dashboard di completamento FAFSA


More college graduates needed

Low college enrollment is a challenge to our economic vitality. Indianapolis employers continue to report difficulty finding talent with the education and skills needed to fill open positions. Fewer Marion County residents have college degrees than many of our peer cities, which puts us at a competitive disadvantage when trying to attract new businesses and better jobs.

For individuals, education beyond high school contributes to a higher annual income and improved financial stability. Further, increased educational attainment is associated with increased health, happiness, quality of life and civic engagement.


Grants to support FAFSA completion and college enrollment

Attraverso College Matters: Meeting the Moment, the Foundation awarded nearly $5 million in short-term grants to Marion County public schools, community organizations, and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in September 2023. These grants provide support to students in two areas: completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — now a requirement to graduate high school in Indiana — and exploring their college options.

Meeting the Moment: Grants to schools

To assist students and their families in meeting Indiana’s new FAFSA mandate during the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years, the Foundation awarded a total of $3.25 million in grants to 37 Marion County public high schools within 17 school corporations.*

Meeting the Moment: Grants to community organizations

To reach students and their families in places other than schools, four Marion County community organizations received grants totaling $1.35 million over three years to support students in exploring, enrolling in and financing college.

Organizzazione su base comunitariaImporto della sovvenzione
Centro per lo sviluppo della leadership$300,000
Expo nera dell'Indiana$300,000
Istituto latinoamericano dell'Indiana$450,000
Lega urbana di Indianapolis$300,000

Meeting the Moment: Grant to Indiana Commission for Higher Education

To fund convenings and facilitate the exchange of information between grantees and the State of Indiana, the Commissione dell'Indiana per l'istruzione superiore received a three-year, $363,000 grant.


Grants to implement proven college enrollment strategies

To make an even larger impact on the college enrollment rate, the Fairbanks Foundation announced College Matters: Reversing the Trend in December 2023. This phase of Questioni universitarie, which seeks to reverse the decline in college enrollment among Marion County high school students, launched a competitive grant process for Marion County public school corporations to apply for funding to implement strategies aimed at increasing college enrollment.

Attraverso Reversing the Trend, the Fairbanks Foundation is awarding funding in two stages. The first stage, which opened Dec. 5, 2023, and closed Feb. 1, 2024, allowed public school corporations to apply for one of six planning grants to support the development of four-year plans to increase college enrollment. These plans will use proven or innovative strategies to increase college enrollment, with an emphasis on students who are less likely to enroll in college.

From a total of 20 applicants, six school corporations were chosen to receive $20,000 planning grants:

Each of the grantees will receive technical assistance from national research firm Mathematica as they select the appropriate interventions for their schools and develop an implementation plan.

In the second stage of the grant process, which will take place in late July 2024, the six school corporations that received the planning grants will be invited to submit proposals for additional grants of up to $1.5 million each that, if awarded, will support the implementation of their four-year plans. Each grantee can also use this grant money to plan for how they will sustain their work beyond the grant period.


Activity Date 
Informational webinars Jan. 10, 2024, and Jan. 12, 2024
Planning grant applications due Noon EST on Feb. 1, 2024
Planning grantee notification March 25, 2024
Planning grant period March 25, 2024 – July 31, 2024
Implementation grant proposals due July 31, 2024
Implementation grantee notification Sept. 3, 2024
Implementation grant period Sept. 3, 2024 – June 30, 2028


Below, you’ll find a variety of items used to inform the creation of the Questioni universitarie initiative, including data sources and relevant research. For more information on Questioni universitarie, contattare il personale della Fondazione all'indirizzo

This competitive Request for Applications solicited proposals from eligible Marion County public high schools interested in receiving College Matters: Reversing the Trend planning grant funding.


Schools applying for College Matters: Reversing the Trend planning grants were encouraged to use this template when submitting a line-item budget for the planning grant period.


This Frequently Asked Questions document includes information relevant to schools applying for College Matters: Reversing the Trend planning grants.


This appendix to the College Matters: Reversing the Trend Request for Applications contains summaries of evidence-based interventions that fall under three strategies to increase college enrollment: 1) strengthen college and career counseling; 2) increase families’ financial awareness and help students apply for financial aid; and 3) bolster students’ academic preparation for college.


Questo articolo di giornale evidenzia l'impatto della politica statale della Louisiana di imporre il completamento della FAFSA come requisito per diplomarsi alla scuola superiore. Lo studio dimostra che il mandato di completamento della FAFSA della Louisiana ha portato a un aumento di 19 punti percentuali nel completamento della FAFSA, associato a un aumento di 1-2 punti percentuali nelle iscrizioni al college.


The College Readiness Dashboard provides interactive data to supplement the annual College Readiness Reports; data is available for the state overall as well as by county, school district and school. The Dashboard includes data for high school graduates from the classes of 2012 through 2021.


Questo rapporto evidenzia i dati demografici dei diplomati delle scuole superiori nel 2019, il loro livello di preparazione accademica, i tassi di iscrizione all'università, i parametri di successo all'inizio dell'università (laureati del 2018) e i tassi di conseguimento del diploma (laureati del 2020).


Questo rapporto annuale fornisce informazioni su quanti studenti conseguono la laurea o il certificato presso i college e le università pubbliche dell'Indiana. Oltre alle tendenze a livello statale, i dati sono forniti per campus e per caratteristiche degli studenti.


Il College Completion Dashboard fornisce dati interattivi per integrare i rapporti annuali sul completamento del college; i dati sono disponibili per lo stato nel suo insieme, nonché per contea, distretto scolastico e scuola. La Dashboard include i dati relativi agli studenti che sono entrati all'università a partire dall'autunno 2006.


Questo rapporto fornisce informazioni sui rendimenti ottenuti da un diploma universitario dopo la laurea, che vanno oltre i benefici finanziari. Secondo il rapporto, gli Hoosiers con una laurea hanno una maggiore sicurezza del lavoro, una maggiore mobilità sociale, un maggiore coinvolgimento civico, una migliore salute e benessere e una migliore qualità della vita.


La dashboard del rapporto sui valori del college fornisce dati interattivi per integrare i rapporti sui valori del college; i dati sono disponibili per tutte le istituzioni statali nel loro insieme, nonché per singole istituzioni pubbliche, livello di laurea e area di studio. La Dashboard include i dati relativi agli studenti che si sono laureati a partire dal 2008 e terminano con la classe del 2017.


Questo rapporto fornisce un'analisi del costo totale dell'università in tutte le istituzioni pubbliche dell'Indiana e analizza il carico di debito medio per i laureati, nonché l'impatto che gli aiuti finanziari statali e federali hanno sulla riduzione dei costi per gli studenti e le famiglie di Hoosier. Le informazioni sono fornite complessivamente e per campus.


La risorsa dati gratuita della Fairbanks Foundation, denominata Community Data Snapshot (CDS), include informazioni a livello della contea di Marion e dello stato su una serie di misure nelle aree di interesse della Fondazione quali istruzione, salute e vitalità di Indianapolis. Nella sezione Istruzione dell'istantanea dei dati della comunità sono inclusi più set di dati rilevanti Questioni universitarie, compresi i tassi di conseguimento del diploma di scuola superiore, di frequenza all'università e di persistenza all'università, nonché i risultati del SAT e il tipo di diploma di scuola superiore. Molte di queste misure sono disponibili anche sui CDS a livello di distretto scolastico e di scuola.


Il dashboard dei laureati dell'Indiana preparati a avere successo, creato dal Dipartimento dell'Istruzione dell'Indiana, presenta dati scolastici e distrettuali per gli studenti Hoosier dei gradi PK-12. Creato dopo che l'Assemblea generale dell'Indiana ha emanato l'obbligo di lanciare un dashboard delle prestazioni scolastiche, informazioni nel GPS specificamente rilevanti per Questioni universitarie include il completamento della FAFSA e l'occupazione/iscrizione (la percentuale di studenti che lavorano in Indiana o che sono iscritti presso un istituto post-secondario pubblico dell'Indiana un anno dopo l'anno di laurea previsto).