June 30 Deadline Approaching for 21st Century Scholars Enrollment Seventh & Eighth Grade Students (in 2020-21) Encouraged to Apply

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana seventh and eighth grade students can still apply for the 21st Century Scholars program, but the June 30 deadline is quickly approaching. Led by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education21st 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.

“To achieve economic security and mobility in today’s economy, education beyond high school is vital,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “The 21st Century Scholars program not only makes college affordable, but when accompanied with the Scholars Success Program, it keeps students on track for college and career success.”

Community partners like the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County are essential to spreading awareness of the 21st Century Scholars program. With support from a major grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., the foundation created the 21st Century Scholars Success Initiative to bring new energy and resources to enrolling and supporting Scholars in the county.

“St. Joseph County struggles with high rates of generational poverty,” said President of the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County Rose Meissner. “The COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on our students has made the work of the 21st Century Scholar Success Initiative more urgent than ever, since we know that improving educational attainment creates the most reliable path out of poverty.”

The Commission’s 2021 College Readiness Report shows that 88 percent of 21st Century Scholars who meet the program's requirements are enrolling in college, compared to the statewide college-going average of 59 percent. The program has also been shown to close the race and ethnicity equity gap for low-income students.

Help with enrollment available To best serve students, the Commission has split the state into eight outreach regions; and the Commission’s outreach coordinators are available via phone or email. 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.

21st Century Scholars Spotlight – Jessica Gonzales Casas Jessica Gonzales Casas is a 21st Century Scholar who graduated from Holy Cross College in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in business. After graduation, Gonzales Casas continued to work in her South Bend community as the special projects coordinator at La Casa de Amistad.

“Being a first-generation student, the oldest daughter of four and being a daughter of immigrants, I had no idea how I was going to be able to afford college,” said Gonzales Casas. “I'm so thankful that I had this help even if it didn't cover all of my expenses due to my choice of going to a private college.”

Jessica Gonazles Casas

# # #

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 celebrated 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 celebrated 30 years of success in 2020.