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Shelby County Plan For Free Community College First Of Its Kind In Indiana

Ivy Tech Community College

High school students in central Indiana's Shelby County will soon have the opportunity to attend community college locally for free. 

Both the Shelbyville City and County Councils unanimously approved a plan that will pay for two years at Ivy Tech Community College for local students who qualify – the first initiative of its kind in Indiana.

Beginning as early as January, Shelby County high school graduates who enroll full-time at Ivy Tech in one of four specific pathways, maintain at least a 2.0 GPA and complete a minimum of 10 hours of community service will be eligible. The program will be largely funded using money received from the Indiana Grand Racing Casino.

Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun says the program will address a main concern for all industries in his blue-collar community: maintaining a sustainable workforce.

We know that we won't have the appeal of a Chicago or a San Francisco or a New York City," he says. "But what we want to do is have the job opportunities and the community amenities to bring those kids home when they're ready to raise their families. And to do that, you've got to have quality of place and job opportunities."

Only about 28 percent of area graduates go on to further their education past high school.

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