Lilly Endowment Provides $2.85-Million Grant to Continue Homework Hotline

Monday, December 11, 2017
Female student tutor working out a math problem while taking a phone call at the Homework Hotline.

Homework Hotline student tutors have conducted more than 637,000 sessions since the program’s inception in 1991.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s Homework Hotline will continue assisting Indiana middle and high school students in understanding mathematics and science principles, through a $2.85-million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. This support will make tutors available each school year through December of 2020.

Homework Hotline student tutors conducted 33,897 tutoring sessions just in the 2016-17 school year alone, and more than 637,000 sessions since the program’s inception in 1991.

The grant will enable the Homework Hotline to continue utilizing the latest technology to strengthen its virtual presence to meet the changing needs of students.

“We’re seeing more students using the Homework Hotline’s online services each year. We want to continue remaining on the forefront of advancements in technology that make students most comfortable in getting help from our tutors,” said Homework Hotline Director Susan Smith Roads.

Starting in the 2018-19 academic year, the Homework Hotline will begin collecting aggregate information from tutoring sessions to help identify students’ specific knowledge gaps that may exist relative to science and mathematics principles.

“We are looking forward to collecting this information so that we can share it with educators, parents and other stakeholders and work collaboratively to strengthen students’ math and science skills and encourage their interest in STEM,” said Smith Roads

This Lilly Endowment grant also will support expansion of the Homework Hotline’s Student Ambassador Program, which currently brings tutors back to campus in mid-August – several weeks before Homework Hotline’s official opening in early September – to visit area schools that operate on a balanced calendar schedule.  The expansion of the Student Ambassador Program will also allow teams of tutors to meet virtually with students, teachers, guidance counselors and administrators at schools throughout the state, regardless of their distance from Rose-Hulman. Additionally, a team of Rose Ready tutors will initiate live tutoring sessions using current and emerging technology platforms to reach Indiana students through both in-school and after-school initiatives during the academic year.

The Homework Hotline started in 1991 as a free community service for students in Vigo County, and its reach was extended statewide in 1999 through Lilly Endowment support. The hotline has become a model for programs at other higher education institutions. It has been replicated at three branch campuses of Pennsylvania State University, at California’s Harvey Mudd College and at the University of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

“Now more than ever, we need to help students overcome barriers to understanding math and science, because proficiency in these areas is vital to their future success,” said Rose-Hulman President Jim Conwell. “Lilly Endowment has been a valuable partner for the Homework Hotline and Rose-Hulman in ensuring that students get the help they need and don’t give up on math and science.”

Tutors are available from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays from early September until the middle of May, except for holiday breaks, at 1-877-ASK-ROSE (877-275-7673) or

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