State Councils Update: National Venture Fund Grants Will Benefit Colleges in Five States; Registration Opens for Annual Conference

National Venture Fund Grants

CIC awarded National Venture Fund grants totaling $115,000 to five CIC State Councils in December. Once matching funds are secured by the selected State Councils, the grants will support collaborative initiatives planned for the 2018–2019 academic year that involve independent colleges in Indiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Designed to address pressing issues in private higher education, the National Venture Fund grant program promotes projects that leverage shared resources among private colleges and universities within each state.

The 2017 National Venture Fund Grant recipients and the related projects follow:

  • The Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) grant will support the project Smart Launch Tech: Marrying the Liberal Arts with Coding. The collaborative project teams ICI and Eleven Fifty Academy, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering technology and coding talent, with Indiana’s 30 private institutions to provide private college students a competency-based, intensive learning experience. This formal training will be followed by work-and-learn and internship experiences through career services offices at individual ICI colleges and universities.
  • The Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ) grant will support branding efforts on public television for New Jersey’s independent college sector. The branding campaign will run concurrently with social media outreach to drive more attention to the ICFNJ website and position it as the resource for news and information on the private college sector.
  • The North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) grant will assist community college transfer through a North Carolina College Completion Portal, in cooperation with the North Carolina Community College System. The portal will facilitate transfer where statewide articulation agreements exist and provide a platform for articulation agreements, course equivalency tables for NCICU members, and students’ degree requirements documents for each institution. Outbound emails to students and their advisors will provide reminders and support through the transfer process and the start of a four-year degree.
  • The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania grant will support a Business Continuity and Organizational Readiness Peer Program to help institutions recover following a disaster. Using shared protocols, colleges will be able to establish a plan to restart mission-essential services, resume normal campus functionality, collect valuable information about campus operations, create an online inventory of services and support, and develop a recovery plan to maintain campus operations; and
  • The Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) grant will support the initiative Communicating Best Practices for Enhancing STEM Education at Virginia’s Independent Colleges. The goal is to help businesses and industries at the state, regional, and national levels meet the need for highly skilled graduates in STEM fields by encouraging students of VFIC member colleges to earn degrees in science and technology and by taking steps to enhance the quality of STEM education offered by VFIC’s 15 member colleges. The project will include an academic forum, tours of innovative science centers, and the creation of a science advisory council.

“The participating State Councils identified partnerships and methods that promise workable approaches to solving several critical concerns among private colleges,” said Carol Schuler, vice president for State Council programs. “The lessons learned will suggest best practices that other CIC State Council members can follow to improve enrollment, workforce development programs, STEM education, business continuity in the face of emergencies, and the branding of private colleges.” CIC provides extensive opportunities for grant recipients to share project results at the State Councils Annual Conference.

For more information about the CIC National Venture Fund and other CIC grant programs for State Councils, contact Schuler at

State Councils Annual Conference banner - St. Louis skyline at night  

Annual Conference Registration

Registration is now open for the 2018 State Councils Annual Conference, which will take place April 29–May 1 at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. Exploring the theme “The Power of Partnerships,” the conference will feature sessions and roundtable discussions on issues of critical interest to State Council executives and staff members who focus on fundraising, communications and marketing, and the leadership of state-based associations. A spouses and partners program also is included.

Thanks to the generous support of the conference sponsors TIAA, UPS, Credo, College Consortium, and Hastings+Chivetta Architects, Inc., this year CIC offers reduced registration fees for second registrants from a State Council and free conference registration for a third member.

View the preliminary program schedule and biographies of featured presenters.