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Groups Scholars expands support for first-gen, underrepresented students to more IU campuses

Oct 20, 2023

An Indiana University Bloomington program that helps first-generation and underrepresented students attain an IU bachelor’s degree has expanded to five additional campuses, admitting more than 500 students into the program this fall. The Groups Scholars Program, which provides academic, financial and social support to students, now includes IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast.

“The Groups Scholars Program is the best thing to happen to me in my young adult life,” said Calvin Woods, a first-year IU Bloomington Groups student from Indianapolis who is studying public financial management in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “Groups is the reason I am who I am today.”

Woods said the program helped him step outside of his comfort zone and quickly feel like part of the IU Community.

The Groups Scholars Program helps Woods and other accepted students from the moment they enter the program until graduation. Wrap-around support such as tutoring, academic advising, mentoring and a sense of community are available to help scholars throughout their college journey. Students also have the opportunity to participate in activities that are designed to foster academic success and degree completion.

“More than a suite of resources and financial support, the Groups Scholars Program represents a pivotal foundation in students’ college experiences,” said James C. Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and the Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership. “The program provides students with opportunities and connections to enrich their lives long after college.”

The holistic support the program provides makes a difference in students’ success. IU Northwest, which launched its inaugural Groups Scholars Program in June 2022, achieved a 100 percent persistence rate from fall 2022 to spring 2023.

“We are extremely excited for our students to benefit from the Groups Scholars Program,” IU Northwest Chancellor Ken Iwama said. “Our campus is the most diverse campus within Indiana University. This program complements our work to increase the graduation rates of students of color and other underrepresented students in higher education.”

The Groups Scholars Programs’ support and resources vary by campus. Groups Scholars at IU East will participate in a six-week summer bridge program. They will also get a free summer course to kickstart their college career, a $250 fall book voucher and $3,000 in scholarships, including a laptop scholarship. The first-year value of the Groups Scholars Program at IU East is more than $5,000.

At IU Kokomo, Groups students will take two summer courses to familiarize them with the campus environment, and with tuition and book fees that are covered as part of program. Students also receive a new laptop, as well as $500 in scholarships toward their tuition.

At IU South Bend, students will also complete a five-week, three-credit course in the summer, accompanied by a first-year $1,000 scholarship. In addition, students will complete a one-week bridge program in the fall.

“I would like to thank the Well House Society for their support of the Groups Program on the regional campuses,” said Susan Sciame-Giesecke, vice president for regional campuses and online education. “Their financial support has allowed us to provide this opportunity to students on all campuses. The regional campus faculty and staff are committed to providing access to college for students from all backgrounds. The Groups Program is an excellent vehicle to do just that.”

Learn more about the Groups Scholars Program, eligibility requirements and application deadlines by visiting IU Bloomington, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast.


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Elizabeth Blevins

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