State Funds Transition to State Councils, Focus on Four Priority Areas

Founded as the face of independent higher education to the corporate sector, the former Foundation for Independent Higher Education merged with CIC in 2010. In 2016, the state-based organizations engaged in several new initiatives. In June, the CIC Board of Directors affirmed four strategic priorities as part of a long-term plan and approved a new name for the organizations, “State Councils.” The Board also welcomed new CIC staff to the State Councils leadership: Carol Schuler, vice president for State Council Programs, and Vanessa Long, manager of State Council Programs. Ned Moore, Schuler’s predecessor, now serves as a CIC senior advisor.

Four Priority Areas

The four defined priority areas are shaping the future of CIC’s 29 State Councils, which serve more than 400 CIC member institutions.
  • Student Scholarships. Presidents of most independent colleges and universities have made it clear that one of their highest priorities is expanding scholarship aid for deserving students. Given their success in fundraising for this purpose, State Councils are ready to lead this effort, with CIC developing support programs that build on success.
  • Making the Case. In times of persistent “sticker price” skepticism, independent colleges and universities need assistance in “making the case” to the public about the value and impact of their educational programs. Collective efforts can have a stronger impact and be more cost-effective. State Councils are positioned to take the lead in this collaborative effort—as some have done during the Securing America’s Future: The Power of Liberal Arts Education campaign—with CIC supporting these initiatives.
  • Leveraging Corporate Connections. State Councils also are poised to expand programs and initiatives that facilitate pathways to internships and jobs for students; promote the value of a liberal arts education to corporate executives and human resources staff; and increase corporate funding for collaborative projects and scholarships.
  • Developing and Supporting Collaborative Programs. State Councils are well positioned to serve as hubs for the development of collaborative programs and to secure grants in support, particularly from foundations and corporations that increasingly seek scale in their grant making.

New Funding Strengthens Scholarship Initiatives

The CIC Board of Directors voted in June to increase significantly the available funding for State Council grant programs, doubling the amount for Scholarship Challenge Grants, National Venture Fund Grants, and Capacity Building Grants.
The first awards with the increased funding potential were five Scholarship Challenge Grants to State Councils in Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The combined requests totaled $195,000, with the potential to direct at least $390,000 in new funding to support student scholarships in five states. All of the proposals were approved. The states have until June 30, 2017, to raise the required matching funds.
The Scholarship Challenge Grants for 2016–2017 include a range of innovative approaches to increasing private support for student scholarships. For example, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) is working to raise new matching funds for Experiential Learning Scholarships to complement VFIC’s traditional scholarship fundraising program. Designed to help students and their families offset the unanticipated costs associated with internships, service learning, and study-abroad opportunities, the scholarships will help with housing, transportation, and other expenses that may prevent a student from pursuing experiential learning opportunities.
Two additional opportunities remain in the State Councils 2016–2017 grant cycle:
  • Proposals for Capacity Building Grants (with $100,000 available) are due November 7; and
  • Proposals for National Venture Fund Grants (with $200,000 available) are due February 6.
For eligibility requirements and additional information on applying for CIC State Council grants, visit the State Councils program site.

CIC Distributes More Than $1.4 Million in UPS Scholarships to State Councils

In July, State Councils received more than $1.4 million in student scholarship funding for member colleges and universities through the CIC/UPS State Councils Endowment. The funding will be used for $2,600 scholarships at each State Council member institution. Since its inception, the CIC/UPS State Councils Endowment has generated $54.4 million in scholarship support of 19,619 students at independent colleges and universities.

Representatives of UPS, Missouri Colleges Fund, and Lindenwood University pose in front of a UPS truck while holding two miniature UPS trucks and book of thank you letters from UPS Scholarship recipients.
During a recent UPS Central Plains District meeting at Lindenwood University (MO), Mike Backer, president of the Missouri Colleges Fund, presented Stan Roux, UPS Central Plains District human resources director, with a book of thank you letters written by past student scholarship recipients. Shown here are (from left to right) Michael Shonrock, president of Lindenwood University, Robert Barnes, chairman of the Missouri Colleges Fund, Stan Roux, Mike Backer, and Fern Shaw, UPS Central Plains District manager.