Ball State University has been awarded a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to create and expand high-quality, on-campus programming that encourages local youth to explore their interests and envision a future for themselves in college. 

The grant is part of Lilly Endowment’s Indiana Youth Programs on Campus (IYPC), an initiative which aims to increase the numbers of Indiana youth who successfully attend Indiana colleges and universities and obtain valuable postsecondary degrees and credentials, thereby helping strengthen the institutions and improve the education levels of Indiana residents. 

“I am grateful to Lilly Endowment for their generous support through the Indiana Youth Programs on Campus initiative,” Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said. “As a community-engaged institution, Ball State is committed to mobilizing and leading partnerships that revitalize and sustain our city, our region, and our state. In line with our University’s enduring value of social responsibility, as well as the imperatives outlined in our strategic plan, we look forward to instilling in these students a desire—and belief in their ability—to attend college and succeed in obtaining a degree.” 

Since launching IYPC in 2021, Lilly Endowment has approved a total of $29.3 million in planning and program implementation grants to Indiana public and private colleges and universities. 

“By supporting these efforts, we hope that more young people in Indiana will experience what it’s like to be on a college campus and take part in meaningful programs that can help prepare them for success in college,” said Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “It is our belief that these programs will not only add to the academic enrichment of young people but also inspire them to see higher education institutions in Indiana as part of their plans for life after high school.” 

Ball State will utilize its IYPC funding to provide additional opportunities for youth in the East Central Indiana region, including Muncie Community Schools, to participate in immersive learning experiences and self-discovery exploration, and to develop important leadership and college preparation skills while engaging with the University community. 

The programming is designed to engage students and families who are first-generation, students of color, or from low-income households. These activities will help foster an understanding that college is an attainable and affordable option for their future. As such, Ball State will offer this programming—including lodging, meals, transportation, and field trip experiences—free of charge. 

Programming provided by Ball State through the IYPC initiative will include:

• A series of week-long, residential camp experiences, beginning in the Summer of 2023, for area middle and high school students. These camps will emphasize activities and topics that include college preparation and academic-focused sessions, with programming from Ball State’s College of Communication, Information, and Media, College of Health, and Teachers College, as well as Ball State’s Career Center, Learning Center, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

• A series of day camp experiences, beginning during the 2023-24 academic year, at Ball State’s College of Health. “Exploring Careers in Health Camp,” offered in partnership with the East Central Indiana Area Health Education Center (ECI-AHEC), will allow up to 400 area high school students per year the opportunity to visit Ball State’s campus and its state-of-the-art Health Professions Building for a day, where they will be immersed in hands-on experiences from a range of health-related careers, including:

o   Nursing

o   Kinesiology

o   Nutrition and Health Sciences

o   Social Work

o   Speech Pathology and Audiology

o   Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology, and Counseling

o   Sports Medicine 

The programming being offered by Ball State through the IYPC grant will be refined based on outcomes and feedback from participants. Following the exhaustion of the IYPC grant, the camp programs will continue to be funded through a combination of private philanthropy and internal budgets across Ball State’s academic and cocurricular units. 

More information about these programs at Ball State—including how local families can apply—will be forthcoming.