How Indiana is closing the achievement gap

Nearly every state has put renewed emphasis on ensuring that more adults get a college degree, with Indiana as a shining example. According to a report from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the achievement gap between low-income and other student populations in the Hoosier State has narrowed by more than half and is projected to close completely by 2025. Much of the credit for this turnaround is due to Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program.

The program is a need-based, state-aid initiative that pays up to four years of undergraduate tuition at any participating public college or university or a comparable amount for a private college. To qualify, high school students must meet 12 requirements, including attaining a GPA of at least 2.5, refraining from illegal drug use, and earning a Core 40 diploma.

At Indiana State University (ISU), about one in five entering freshmen are 21st Century Scholars. While the award money is earmarked for tuition, ISU also provides other aid for these scholars, such as housing and book allowances. When the program began, aid was available regardless of a student’s progress in college. About five years ago, however, the program switched to a more demanding schedule where students have to reach 30, 60, and 90 credit goals.…Read More