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Lilly Endowment Awards Rose-Hulman $1.8 Million Grant to Support Homework Hotline Through 2014

September 12, 2011

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has received a $1.8 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to continue the Homework Hotline math and science tutoring service.  It will now support Indiana middle school and high school students through 2014.


Through the popular program, Rose-Hulman students are available from 7-10 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays.  They provide free tutoring sessions or assistance with homework problems to those participants who call toll-free 1-877-ASK-ROSE or through e-mails and online resources at

The Homework Hotline opened for the 2011-12 school year on Sunday, September 4, and will continue through May 2012.

"High-level math and science skills are essential for today's school children to be successful in this high-tech, global economy," said Sara B. Cobb, Lilly Endowment vice president for education.  "We are pleased that this grant will continue to connect some of Indiana's most outstanding math and science college students with middle school and high school students.  Rose-Hulman has been consistently ranked the best undergraduate engineering college in the country.  Indiana students are fortunate to have this valuable service."

Homework Hotline Director Susan Smith added: "Lilly Endowment's loyal support will allow the Homework Hotline to continue helping thousands of Indiana school children each year to understand the complexities of math and science.  The Homework Hotline has become an educational model throughout the country thanks to the lessons learned since our start in 1991.  And Lilly Endowment has been supporting our mission every step of the way."

Homework Hotline 2011    
Helping Hoosiers: Specially-selected Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology students tutor thousands of Indiana middle school and high school students each year through the Homework Hotline.

In 2010, Rose-Hulman's Homework Hotline was replicated by California's Harvey Mudd College to help elementary and secondary school students in the Claremont area.  Other colleges are looking to adapt aspects of the hotline for their communities.

Homework Hotline tutors answered 45,042 calls and conducted 2,934 online sessions during the 2010-11 school year, helping students from every Indiana county.  The service has helped 401,839 callers since 1991.

The tutors' mission is to provide callers with tools needed to learn.  More than 30 tutors are available each night, and approximately 130 tutors and supervisors will be employed this year.  Tutors are selected based on their technical knowledge and communication skills.  They represent 14 academic majors, and can collectively speak nearly a dozen different languages, including Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish and Russian.

"We try to focus on helping students learn how to use their textbook," explains Homework Hotline Tutor Supervisor Julie Brennan, a senior mechanical engineering major from Indianapolis.  With that knowledge she says, "They will be able to get through the problems themselves and use the textbook better as a resource."

Brennan enjoys the satisfaction of being able to help others.  "About 50 percent of the calls are from students who are so close to getting the answer," she explained.  "Nothing is better than this job when you talk to someone and then he or she finally understands."

Smith added: "Tutors share their interest and excitement about math, science and engineering, while attempting to spark the curiosity and imagination of each student."

In 2010-11, the central Indiana area led the pack of callers with students from Marion County making 5,056 calls and Hamilton County registering 2,266 calls.  Northern Indiana's Lake (Gary/Merrillville) and Allen (Fort Wayne) counties contributed an additional 4,086 calls, combined.

Learn more about the Homework Hotline at