Governor Mike Pence recently signed an Executive Order to formally change the name of the 21st Century Scholarship Program to the Evan Bayh 21st Century Scholars Program. Evan Bayh, who served as the 46th Governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997, made the scholarship a top priority during his tenure, with the goal of helping ensure Hoosier students are afforded the opportunities provided by post-secondary education.
“Thanks to the vision of former Governor Evan Bayh more than 25 years ago, tens of thousands of Hoosier students have taken advantage of the 21st Century Scholars program as a way to achieve their goal of going to college,” said Governor Pence. “This program offers students across our state a path to educational success, and I’m proud of the students who have committed to developing the character traits and work ethic that will carry them into adulthood. I’m grateful to sign this Executive Order to formally recognize the man who made the dreams of these students a reality.”
Governor Pence was joined by former Governor Bayh, former State Representative and Commissioner for Higher Education Stan Jones, who authored the legislation that created the scholarship program, Indiana State University President Daniel Bradley, state leaders, and several current and former 21st Century Scholars to recognize the occasion at Indiana State University’s Bayh College of Education.
Founded in 1990 and signed by former Governor Bayh, the 21st Century Scholars program has provided scholarships to more than 70,000 Hoosier students – many of whom were the first in their families to attend college. According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, 21st Century Scholars are more likely to go to college than their peers, and are more likely to be academically prepared and complete a degree than their low-income peers.
Students who meet certain income requirements can apply for the 21st Century Scholars program during 7th or 8th grade and must complete several steps, including signing a pledge to not use illegal drugs or alcohol or commit a criminal act, maintaining a cumulative 2.5 GPA, graduating high school with a Core 40 diploma, and applying to an eligible Indiana college. 21st Century Scholars can receive a maximum of 4-years paid undergraduate tuition at an Indiana college.
In 2013, Governor Pence signed into law legislation (House Enrolled Act 1348) that added an additional prerequisite to the 21st Century Scholars Program, which required students take at least 30 credit hours of courses per academic year. The change resulted in a double-digit increase in the number of scholars staying on track to complete their degrees. Since Governor Pence took office, Indiana has more than doubled funding for the 21st Century Scholars program.
Indiana is currently ranked 1st in the Midwest and 7th nationally in providing need-based financial aid. To learn more about Indiana’s Evan Bayh 21st Century Scholars program, visit http://scholars.in.gov/.