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An Open Letter to 21st Century Scholars Students, Families, and Partner Organizations An Open Letter to 21st Century Scholars Students, Families, and Partner Organizations

Posted: December 2012
Established in 1990, Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program has become a national model for increasing student aspirations and access to education beyond high school. Eligible students who fulfill the Scholars Pledge are provided up to four years of paid tuition at an Indiana college in return for keeping a commitment to excellence in school and in life.

Participation in the 21st Century Scholars program is at all-time high today with more than 100,000 students enrolled statewide, and Scholars graduate from high school and attend college at a higher rate than Hoosier students overall. Despite this progress, Scholars are falling short of their potential in the key area: college completion. Just over 1 in 10 Scholars graduate from college on time and less than a third earn a degree within six years.

Moving from Access to Success

College access without completion represents a dashed dream and a missed opportunity, and Indiana believes Scholars can do better if provided the necessary guidance and support. With that goal in mind, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation that increased the cumulative high school Grade Point Average (GPA) requirement for Scholars to 2.5 on a 4.0 scale and required Scholars to participate in a student preparation program moving forward.(See Scholar program requirements by enrollment year and high school graduating class.)

New Scholar Success Program

Required for 21st Century Scholars who start high school in fall 2013, the Scholar Success Program is designed to ensure students understand and complete specific steps required to access and succeed in college. These clear expectations for each grade level will guide students as they plan their path to high school graduation and beyond, prepare with the skills needed to be college-ready and understand what it takes to pay for college and graduate with minimal debt.

In 2013, a new 21st Century Scholars website will be launched with additional information and resources linked to the new Scholar Success Program expectations, and the state is actively working with members of a 21st Century Scholars Advisory Council, Indiana’s College Success Coalition and other local partners to provide more robust wraparound services for Scholars and their families.

New Scholar Support Model

To better serve the growing numbers of Scholars across the state and to support the increased emphasis on college success, Indiana is transitioning to a new Scholar support model focused on expanding partnerships and coordination with local schools and community-based organizations. Outreach Coordinators in the eight 21st Century Scholar Outreach Regions are working with area schools, youth-serving organizations, and other local partners to coordinate efforts that help eligible students enroll in the Scholars program, meet important deadlines and connect to available support services in their regions.

To extend support at the college level, Indiana is placing trained ScholarCorps members on Indiana college campuses and developing a Scholar Ambassador program that will enable Scholar upperclassmen and alumni to help other Scholars be successful. At all levels, these efforts are complemented by the related resources and initiatives of Learn More Indiana. Led by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Learn More Indiana is a partnership of state and local organizations working to help Hoosiers of all ages succeed in school, complete college and connect to careers.


For more information about the 21st Century Scholars program, read our Frequently Asked Questions, call the Scholar helpline at 1-888-528-4719, talk to your local school counselor or check out the online resources at or