April 1, 2022

Free summer program returns in person to prepare Indiana Latino students for college

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Data shows college enrollment is on the decline, but especially among men. - (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Data shows college enrollment is on the decline, but especially among men.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect that the deadline for applications has been extended to April 22.

A free program to support Indiana Latino students planning on going to college is returning in person this summer. Project Stepping Stone is a week-long summer program for students entering their senior year.

After going remote in 2020 and 2021, Project Stepping Stone is bringing back in-person trips to college campuses, events to boost students' application and interviewing skills, and professional mentoring for students.

Kathy Cabello, president of the nonprofit that funds the program, said the goal is to support students as they decide what kind of higher education experience they want — whether it's a two or four-year degree, or something else.

"We want to ensure where you start, you're finishing. That's the end game," she said.



Cabello said the program will emphasize opportunities to eliminate cost barriers for students this year. She said those have only grown more challenging to overcome during the pandemic — because Latino students might feel compelled to sacrifice their own goals to support their families.

"For us, we want to focus in on: how can you go to college, and then it's not a financial burden on you and or your family — that's really important," Cabello said.

The program will serve 60 students from across the state this year as it transitions back to in-person.

Cabello said if people are interested in applying or volunteering, they can visit Project Stepping Stone's website. Student applications are open until April 22.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

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