Indiana State University launching tuition-assistance initiative

Indiana State University on Thursday announced a new program to help cover tuition and educational excursion expenses for qualified incoming freshman starting in 2022.

Called the Indiana State Advantage, ISU said the initiative is intended to attract more students to the Terre Haute-based public university, which saw enrollment drop from about 13,500 in fall 2016 to 10,800 in fall 2020. It will benefit incoming students with a three-prong “guarantee” to help cover expenses for those who meet certain eligibility requirements.

The three prongs:

  • Experiential guarantee: Every first-time, full-time student on campus can apply for up to $3,000 for an educational experience outside the classroom, such as an internship, study abroad program, research or service.
  • Tuition-free guarantee: After financial aid is calculated, ISU will make up any difference in tuition costs for Pell Grant-eligible students from Indiana who had a high school GPA of at least 3.0 and are in good academic standing.
  • Four-year guarantee: Eligible students will be able to finish a bachelor’s degree in four years or the rest is tuition-free.

The 2021-22 maximum Pell Grant is $6,495, an increase of $150 from the previous academic year. All eligible students receive at least 10% of the maximum award amount for the year, depending on financial need. ISU tuition for the 2020-21 school year was $9,466 for Indiana residents, so the university could be covering between almost $3,000 and more than $8,000 in tuition for Pell Grant-eligible students under the program.

The program does not cover room, board and fees, which were about $13,400 in the 2020-21 academic year.

ISU said the program wouldn’t result in more spending by the university, which plans to reallocate existing internal aid and scholarship resources.

The university launched a website with more information about the program and said it would promote the program with a “major advertising campaign.”

Teresa Lubbers, Indiana’s Commissioner for Higher Education, lauded the program in a statement issued by the university.

“This important initiative launched by Indiana State University is warmly welcomed and supported by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education,” Lubbers said in the statement. “The Indiana State Advantage aligns with the Commission’s strategic plan and focus on completion, affordability and career relevance.”

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