Tighter rules for scholarship program advance

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana's popular 21st Century Scholars program that provides full college scholarships to needy students who stay out of trouble would have stiffer requirements under a proposal approved Thursday by a legislative committee.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 8-4 to endorse a bill making changes to that program and others in the state's college financial aid system.

The fast growth of the 21st Century scholarship in recent years forced the shifting of money from other programs in the state's $248 million financial aid budget last school year, said Claudia Braman, executive director of the State Student Assistance Commission.

Nearly 13,000 students received the 21st Century scholarships last year — up 44 percent from four years earlier. Braman said the commission had to transfer about $17 million from other funds to cover its $45 million cost.

A principal change to the program would increase the required high school grade-point average from 2.0 to 2.5 for a student to receive the scholarship.

Committee Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said money going toward the program will be better spent on college students who've met the tougher high school GPA standard.

"We know that will be a better predictor of performance," he said.

The 21st Century Scholars program was started in 1990 under then-Gov. Evan Bayh. Students in sixth through eighth grades who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches can enroll in the program by signing a pledge to stay out of criminal trouble and drug-free and meet the grade standard in exchange for four years of free tuition at an Indiana public college.

Sen. Lindel Hume, D-Princeton, questioned whether the higher GPA requirement would discourage some students from trying to continue their education after high school once they realize they won't qualify.

Braman said those students could still seek grants based on income if they enroll at Ivy Tech Community College or another school.

"We hope this will motive students to try harder," she said.

Under the proposal, the higher GPA standard would start for those youths joining the program after this school year. The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency estimated that about 1,100 fewer students could qualify a year with the higher standard, cutting the program's cost by $2.8 million a year.

The assistance commission says researchers have found that about 20 percent of those who signed up for the program as middle school students no longer met the low-income requirement as high school seniors.

The administration of Gov. Mitch Daniels wants to change state law to allow a senior-year assessment of financial need — and senators said a bill introduced in the Indiana House would do that.

The bill, which now goes to the full Senate, would also limit state financial aid to only undergraduate students and transfer college financial aid duties involving prison inmates to the Department of Correction.

Officials said the changes were needed to maximize the reach of the state financial aid budget when demand is growing. State figures show nearly 459,000 people applied for state college grants for last school year — an increase of about 130,000 from two years earlier.

"Here in the economic recession, we're seeing how we're being squeezed between one program versus another program," Kenley said. "In the interest of trying to have a better program overall, both in times of recession and in good times, we're trying to smooth the fairness out."


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim