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Only 1-in-5 Eligible High Schoolers Now Qualifies For 21st Century Scholars Money

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80-percent of Indiana’s upcoming high school seniors eligible for the state’s 21st Century Scholars program aren’t meeting the requirements to receive those scholarships. 

The legislature created new requirements for the 21st Century Scholars program back in 2011.  At the time, only about 10-percent of students who earned the scholarships were graduating college on time. 

New requirements included that each student make a graduation plan, hold a grade point average of at least 2.5, take a career interest assessment and visit a college campus.  Only 20-percent of the students the state aims to help are now on track to qualify.

Senate budget architect Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) helped craft the new requirements and says the state needs to ensure its scholars are as well-prepared as possible to finish college on-time.

“When you look at the requirements objectively, they don’t seem to be all that strenuous," Kenley says.  "And so I’m puzzled why the rates are kind of low – and I’m concerned, obviously.”

Kenley says reexamining the requirements might be in order during next year’s budget-writing session -- but he adds that he doesn’t want to sacrifice their rigor.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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