The Lilly Endowment will announce Thursday (December 12, 2013) $62.7 million in grants to 39 Indiana colleges and universities to combat brain drain among graduates. As the third round of grants over the past decade, this is a part of what the endowment calls its Initiative to Promote Opportunities Through Educational Collaboration.
Compared with a national rate of 30 percent, only 25 percent of Hoosiers between the ages of 25 and 64 obtain at least a bachelor’s degree, according to Census data. While Indiana does better than most states at holding on to its college graduates, its ability to attract educated adults is where it lags behind the competition according to census data. These findings are what led Mike Hicks of Ball State University to question the endowment’s brain-drain grants and other similarly focused areas. “The problem lies not in how many people we’re educating or how we’re educating them, but in having places that they want to live,” said Hicks in a September interview.
The endowment determined the size of its grants based on enrollment numbers at each educational institution. The largest grants, $5 million each, were awarded to Indiana University and Purdue University. Ivy Tech Community College will receive $4.9 million while $3 million each will go to the University of Notre Dame, Ball State University, Indiana State University, Indiana Wesleyan University, the University of Southern Indiana and Vincennes University. The majority of remaining schools will be awarded roughly $1 million each.
Nearly all the colleges will use the money to expand internships and experiential learning opportunities for students as well as expand career development programs, says the endowment. “These activities have the potential to [significantly] increase the number of Indiana college graduates who find satisfying opportunities in the state,” said Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education Sara Cobb.