Indiana panel OKs early-graduation scholarship

A proposal to give Indiana high school seniors a $3,500 college scholarship if they graduate a year early has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

The GOP-ruled Senate Education Committee voted 8-1 Wednesday for the scholarship idea proposed by Gov. Mitch Daniels. It now moves to another Senate committee for consideration.

Proposal supporters say the scholarship would mean more education options for students. Critics say the proposal could spur some students currently taking high school advanced placement or dual-credit classes to opt instead for a head start on college, which could make it difficult for schools to continue offering those classes.

Others say they worry whether high school students as young as 16 are mature enough to attend college, but Daniels says he trusts families to make that decision.

Colleges are also concerned about whether they are prepared to house a large influx of minors.

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