Indiana University’s 21st Century Scholars and Community and School Partnerships programs partnered with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) to launch a new initiative. Designed to expose students and their parents/guardians to the 21st Century Scholars program, the 21st Century Scholars Pre-College Academy offers Hoosier qualifying students up to four years of paid tuition and additional benefits at an eligible Indiana college or university after high school. Thanks to a grant, much of the Pre-College Academy’s cost was covered by the IU’s Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council.
21st Century Scholars and their partners work to launch Pre-College Academy
“The Pre-College Academy was an opportunity for young students to get exposure to college life, important planning information for college and the 21st Century Scholars Program, and, most importantly, how to sign up to be a 21st Century Scholar. Or, if already signed up, how to best meet the benchmarks set for the 21st Century Scholar scholarship.” Vince Isom, director of the 21st Century Scholars Program, said. “We want students from underrepresented populations to know there is an option to pursue a scholarship and to pursue higher education, especially those from backgrounds where no one in their family attended a university, or it was deemed too expensive.”
According to Isom, this event also provided an opportunity to expose students to pre-college programs—often offered by Community & School Partnerships—preparing them to be college-ready.
“Community & School Partnerships acts as a bridge connecting pre-college students to amazing resources and opportunities that help make the transition from K-12 to postsecondary pathways as smooth as possible. We strive to provide access and support so that underrepresented students can do their best work.” Julia Jennings, director of Community & School Partnerships, said.
“Both the Community and School Partnerships Program and 21st Century Scholars Program work to provide students and their guardians with the best knowledge and support possible for them to flourish at Indiana University,” Yolanda Treviño, assistant vice president for Strategy, Planning, and Assessment, said. “The commitment to providing student support continues to be one of their greatest strengths, and I am proud to support these efforts and outreach initiatives in any way I can.”
Originally planned as an in-person event, the Pre-College Academy was moved into a virtual setting. The information session took place in early May with additional workshops on Saturdays taking place mid May through June 2020. (See the recordings here) Each session provided parents and students with useful information, such as how to pay for college and IUB admission requirements. Many of these workshops are partnerships between the 21st Century Scholars Program and other programs, such as MoneySmarts or the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE).
The ICHE administers all state-based financial aid, and with the 21st Century Scholars being one of the largest need-based programs, it has been beneficial for them to work alongside campus partners.
“If you have a middle school student interested in college, we love to be right there to talk about making that opportunity as affordable as possible through state financial aid. Additionally, how to navigate the free resources available through us for college and career preparation,” Brittany Collins, manager for the Postsecondary Outreach and Career Transitions at ICHE, said.
This event specifically targeted two Indiana counties—Crawford and Martin. “These two counties have had some of the biggest enrollment gaps in southern Indiana in the last few years,” Jennings said. “We want to support the families in Martin and Crawford counties to help increase their awareness of these important resources and pre-college opportunities available to assist them in their success.”
“These virtual opportunities aren’t only for residents of these two counties,” Jennings said. “By moving this year’s program online, we were able to reach students and families all across the state. We also have plans on how we can get this valuable information into the hands of those who do not have access to the Internet or home computing devices during this time. We are looking to eliminate any potential barriers to getting our message out.”
For more information on 21st Century Scholars, click here. If you would like future workshop series information or have questions about this workshop, please call 812-856-5935.