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Proposed State Budget Quadruples Scholarship Fund

21st century scholars

Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University

Ricardo Munoz (left) talks with a potential Indiana University student at the Indianapolis Scholars Reception hosted by the Office of Scholarships. IU is a part of the 21st Century Scholars program.

Indiana is changing the look of its college financial aid budget. The 21st Century Scholars program guarantees state university tuition to students who maintain a C average in high school and stay out of trouble.

But financial aid commissioner Mary Jane Michalak says the program‘s budget has stayed flat while eligibility has grown.

“Historically, we‘ve received about $29 million to fund the Scholars program when in actuality, it costs about $90 million to send all of our scholars to school,” Michalak says.

The state has filled the gap with money from other aid programs. But Michalak says the brand ID of the 21st Century Scholars program is so strong that students sometimes see the amount from that fund and think they have been shortchanged.

Both House Republicans‘ budget and Governor Pence‘s nearly quadruple the scholarship fund for the next two years while trimming others. Cost-control measures enacted in 2011 begin to take effect in 2016, when the state will cap scholarships at $2,500 for students who don‘t show financial need.

Starting that year, the state has the option of reducing scholarships for all students if there is not enough money.

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