Lilly Endowment Inc. grant helps to expand Notre Dame pre-college programs for Hoosier high school students

Author: Sue Ryan

Jesus Statue on Main Quad (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

In order to deepen engagement with a more diverse group of Indiana high school students, the University of Notre Dame has been awarded a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to grow an existing pre-college program.

The University will use the funding to expand capacity and impact of its Office of Pre-College Programs Summer Scholars initiative to allow for increased participation by underserved and under-resourced students from public and Catholic high schools throughout the state.

Notre Dame is one of 27 colleges and universities to receive funding from the Lilly Endowment Indiana Youth Programs on Campus initiative, which was launched in 2021 to help Indiana colleges and universities create new or expand and enhance existing high-quality, on campus programs for Hoosier youth. Through the Indiana Youth Programs on Campus initiative, Lilly Endowment Inc. has approved a total of $22.6 million in planning grants and program implementation grants.

The Notre Dame Summer Scholars program currently provides 450 high school students a two-week residential college immersion which highlights academics and other components of a college undergraduate experience. Beginning next summer, the program will expand to 700 students across multiple sessions and allow the Office of Pre-College Programs to offer a more cohesive experience for all participants.

“We are extremely grateful to Lilly Endowment for this generous grant,” said Paul Mueller, director of Notre Dame’s Office of Pre-College Programs. “The expansion of our Summer Scholars program will benefit many more Indiana high school students along with colleges and universities throughout Indiana. We believe this will have a long-term positive impact on keeping our brightest and most promising young minds in state for their college careers and beyond.”

Summer Scholars live on Notre Dame's campus while taking a college-level course taught by University faculty, and they earn one transferable college credit upon the completion of the program. Along with five to six hours per day of course instruction, the students participate in service activities and community-building events. Next year’s programming will also incorporate content to better prepare students and their families for the college admissions and financial aid processes, and Notre Dame will host Indiana schools for a college fair to showcase the many offerings of various colleges and universities throughout the state.

For the next three years with Lilly Endowment grant support, Notre Dame will cover full Summer Scholars programmatic expenses, including room and board, application and enrollment fees for Indiana students from underserved and under-resourced public and Catholic high schools. For some participants, travel expenses to Notre Dame for the Summer Scholars program will also be covered.

Learn more online about Notre Dame’s Summer Scholars program.


Contact: Sue Ryan, director of media relations, 574-631-7916,