Seventh, Eighth Grade Students Encouraged to Apply
Indiana seventh and eighth grade students can still apply for the 21st Century Scholars program, but the June 30 deadline is swiftly approaching. Led by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, 21st Century Scholars is the state’s early college promise program that provides up to four years of undergraduate tuition and fees for eligible low-income students at Indiana colleges and universities.
To qualify, students must apply during their seventh or eighth grade year. Most students who qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch guidelines will qualify for the 21st Century Scholars program – but students can only take advantage if they apply before the June 30 deadline.
“At a time when education beyond high school is more important than ever, it’s imperative for students who qualify to take advantage of financial aid programs such as 21st Century Scholars,” said the Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “This program can be life-changing for those who apply, but we need the help of school and community partners and Scholar alumni and their families to help us spread the word so that more eligible students apply by the deadline.”
The Commission’s 2020 College Readiness Report shows that 21st Century Scholars are enrolling in college 86 percent of the time – compared to the statewide college-going average of 61 percent. The 21st Century Scholars program has also been shown to close educational achievement gaps for low-income students and students of color.
“Limited financial resources should not be a barrier for students who want to attend college,” said Robert Shegog, President/CEO of the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper, one of the top African American publications in the nation that advocates for African-Americans and minorities, as well as the underserved. “The 21st Century Scholars program is an excellent opportunity for students from marginalized communities to attend college with little to no debt. Parents should definitely be taking advantage of such a noteworthy program, as low-income and students of color can truly change the trajectory of their lives by participating.”
The Commission’s new strategic plan, Reaching Higher in a State of Change, outlines numerous policy positions and action areas to drive college-going access and success, including making equity a key focus item to ensure that the state is taking meaningful action to close achievement gaps on every campus in every community.
Help with enrollment available
Students and parents who need help signing up for the 21st Century Scholars program can get virtual assistance on June 25 at 2 p.m. (ET) and June 29 at 6 p.m. (ET) during Facebook Live events on Learn More Indiana’s Facebook page. The Commission’s outreach staff will be answering questions on the Learn More Indiana social media platforms the day of the events (Instagram: @LearnMoreIndiana and Twitter: @LearnMoreIN) but are always available via phone or email. To best serve the state, the Commission has split the state into eight regions. A full list of counties and associated numbers is available here. Help is also available in Spanish by calling 317-232-1072 or 317-617-0318.
¿Necesitas ayuda en español? Llame al 317-232-1072 o 317-617-0318.
Learn more and apply at www.Scholars.in.gov/enroll.
Dr. Munoz 21st Century Scholar Spotlight
Dr. Joél Muñoz is a 21st Century Scholar who graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in education in 2006. He went on to earn a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a master of business administration.
Muñoz is currently the school principal at Lincoln Middle School in Indianapolis.
“I’m one of a few Latino students who was able to achieve all of this and I strongly believe that the 21st Century Scholars program helped set me up for success,” says Muñoz.
About the Indiana Commission for Higher Education
Created in 1971, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education plans, coordinates and defines Indiana’s postsecondary education system to align higher learning with the needs of students and the state. The Commission also administers Indiana’s financial aid programs, including the 21st Century Scholars early college promise scholarship, which celebrates 30 years in 2020. Learn more about the Commission’s Reaching Higher in a State of Change strategic plan at www.in.gov/che.
About 21st Century Scholars
Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program is an early college promise program designed to help ensure that every Hoosier student can afford the opportunity provided by a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential. Income-eligible students who maintain the Scholar Pledge through excellence in school and life can receive a scholarship for up to 100 percent of tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university upon graduation from high school. The program was created in 1990 and celebrates 30 years of success in 2020.