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Expanded 21st Century scholars program announced by Governor Holcomb

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Indianapolis, Indiana – According to a statement released on Wednesday by the offices of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, over 40,000 students have been automatically enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars program’s 2027 cohort.

The 40,000 in the 2027 cohort represent an increase from the 20,000 in the prior cohort, according to a news release from Holcomb’s office. For students from low-income backgrounds attending Indiana colleges and universities, the scholarship offered under the program can pay up to their whole tuition and fees.

“Indiana’s workforce depends on a skilled talent pipeline,” Holcomb said in the release. “For over 30 years, the 21st Century Scholarship has played a transformative role in getting more Hoosiers prepared to enroll and succeed in college. Automatically enrolling income-eligible students into this life-changing program will lead to greater levels of educational attainment, stronger communities, and a globally competitive workforce.”

This follows the enactment of HEA 1449-2023 earlier this year. The bill broadened the program by making it easier to identify students who are eligible to take part in it and by automatically enrolling all financially eligible students in it.

For each eighth-grade class, the commission stated in the announcement, more than 20,000 new children are anticipated to enroll in the program. Students who are enrolled automatically, according to officials, “must still meet subsequent requirements to obtain the scholarship.”

“This legislation will ensure higher rates of equity for Hoosier students from all walks of life and help more Indiana students achieve a higher education and all the blessings that come with it,” State Rep. Earl Harris Jr. said in the release. “Helping students get enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars program will not just help individual students and their families, but the state as a whole by helping us build a skilled, 21st Century economy. This bill is a testament to the good that can happen when lawmakers work together for the benefit of their constituents, and I look forward to seeing the impacts of this bipartisan piece of legislation for generations to come.”

According to the statement, more than 50,000 students have graduated from college using the program since it began, according to officials.

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