Over 300 third-graders from Randolph County took their first step toward attending college by visiting Indiana University East for today’s “Walk into My Future” event.
The event is the kick off to the Randolph County Promise, a program to help third-grade students and their parents open a College Choice 529 Direct Savings plan, which may be used to pay for education beyond high school.
At today’s event, each third-grader learned they will receive $25 to start their CollegeChoice account, an amount matched by the Community Foundation of Randolph County, to help make attending college in the future a reality.
Additionally, every third-grade student received a $1,000 scholarship, provided by IU East, to go toward the costs of college. The scholarship will be available to Randolph County third-grade students who attend IU East as part of the incoming class of 2027.
IU East hosted “Walk into My Future,” a day of interactive learning and hands-on discovery. The third-graders had a peek at what their future college experience could be like through their experiences.
IU East Chancellor Kathy Cruz-Uribe welcomed the elementary students to campus.
“Part of IU East’s mission is to increase the educational attainment levels of our region,” Cruz-Uribe said. “Hosting over 300 third graders on our campus who, we hope, will be part of our incoming class of 2027 is a big step toward building their future.”
While at IU East, the third-graders explored college through a series of learning stations, toured the campus, and talked with university students, faculty and staff. Faculty led fun activities in the areas of science, nursing, humanities, business and social work. Examples included an archeology dig, virtual reality demonstrations, Spanish Bingo and an art scavenger hunt. Purdue Polytechnic Richmond also hosted engineering and graphic design activities.
Additionally, each student received an “I Did It” certificate and had their photo taken with Rufus the Red Wolf, IU East’s mascot.
Lisa Jennings, executive director of the Community Foundation of Randolph County said that Randolph County is the most recent Indiana county to join The Promise program, supported by Promise Indiana, the Indiana Education Savings Authority, and Lilly Endowment, Inc.
“We look forward to working with all the collaborators including IU East to achieve absolute success in our first year, but also to making The Promise program better and stronger with their innovation. Their work will impact not only local youth, but our communities as well and we are so appreciative of the strength of these partnerships,” Jennings said.
Participating third-grade classes include:
- North Side Elementary, Union City
- Monroe Central Elementary, Parker City
- Randolph Southern Elementary, Lynn
- Union Elementary, Modoc
- Willard Elementary, Winchester
- and Deerfield Elementary, Ridgeville.
“We are very grateful to IU East for graciously accepting to host Randolph County children on their campus and also for understanding how important it is to promote the Promise initiative,” said Randolph County Promise Committee Chair, Cathy Stephen Miller.
As part of the Randolph County Promise, the Community Foundation will contribute the first $25 into each eligible account. Students and their families are encouraged to add to the account or seek champions (friends, family members, neighbors, coaches, and teachers) willing to contribute on their behalf.
According to the Promise program, students with a college savings account of $1-$499 are four and one-half times more likely to enroll in and complete college than those with no college savings accounts, yet only 11.7 percent of Indiana students have those accounts.
Cruz-Uribe said IU East is committed to helping third-graders across Randolph County achieve their dreams of one day attending college.
“I’m a big proponent of what Randolph County Promise is working to achieve,” she said. “Studies show that 529 plans can play an influential role in encouraging students to pursue post secondary education. It’s also linked to student success related to completing their degree. We are pleased to be part of any project that’s working toward that goal.”