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.