The 21st Century Scholars program provides students who meet certain financial guidelines with tuition for up to four years at public Indiana colleges and universities on the approved list. Students can also receive a comparable amount at private Indiana colleges on the approved list. http://scholars.in.gov/
- Students and their parents must apply on the 21st Century Scholar website by June 30 of their 8th grade year. https://studentaid.ssaci.in.gov/SCHOLARENROLLMENT/ENROLLMENT/UI/GENERALQUERY.ASPX
- After being accepted into the program, students must complete 12 Scholar Success Program tasks by the time they graduate, maintain an overall GPA of 2.5/4.0, graduate with at least a Core 40 Diploma, refrain from using drugs/alcohol, stay out of trouble, and maintain financial eligibility. http://scholars.in.gov/
- Foster care students: Students who enter the foster care system from 7th grade to 12th grade are eligible to enroll in the 21st Century Scholars program without proving family income information. Usually, the case worker assigned to the student will enter the application, but counselors and community partners can enter the application on behalf of the student as well. To enter an application, click the blue “Apply for Scholar” button and select the foster care option. You will only need to enter the student’s identifying and contact information and the name of the case worker. The application then goes to the state DCS office for verification. The student must be in foster care on the day that the application is submitted in order to be approved.
- 21st Century Scholars Financial Means Test starting with 2020 Cohort
- Guidance for the different status types in ScholarTrack (from Greg Harrell, CHE):
- None – student has no application on file but is on roster via upload or account creation
- Approved – student has applied and been enrolled in 21st Century Scholars
- Approved Pending Student Pledge – student has an approved foster care or legal guardianship application that needs pledge verification
- Denied – student has applied but was denied for being over income based on the information that was provided on the application or was denied through foster care or legal guardianship applications
- Pending – student has applied via foster care or legal guardianship application and is awaiting verification from DCS
- Removed – student applied and was initially approved but was removed after income was verified by the Indiana Department of Revenue
- Under the status, you will see either verified or unverified. That indicates whether the income on the submitted application has been verified by the Indiana Department of Revenue yet. All income applications are verified through IDOR.
- 21st Century Scholars pledge violations responses:
- Honestly, I don’t really even know how to report. Students are supposed to self-report. I know there was an issue with a student before I came. I don’t believe he ever reported, but I never reported it either because I didn’t have first hand knowledge of it. As far as I know, no one else has had an issue.
- I have reported violations… but unless the student is 18 and the name is in the paper… I’m not sure how 21st Century ‘verifies’ it other than asking the student/ parent.
- We don’t report pledge violations. I thought it was up to the student/parents to self report if a violation occurred. I’m aware of some students losing their scholarship in the past (not when I was their counselor) due to probation reporting.
- I think we only report if it’s something that is illegal and the student was charged formally.
- I worked in the high school for 10 years and I did NOT report violations.
- I have had one instance where a pledge violation took place and was reported. The student had disciplinary action given to her (suspension) that aligned with a pledge violation. We drafted a document that she would self-report to the program and had her sign it with a parent present. Ideally, we wanted the student to take ownership of the incident and not put the school (me as the coordinator) in this situation. Towards the end of the year, I noticed on ScholarTrack that she still hadn’t self-reported, so I emailed the student and her mother to remind them to follow through – I also attached the scanned document that she signed. Eventually she did follow through; however, I did get a nasty email from the mother that said I ruined her daughter’s life. It was a tough email to receive, but I know that it was the right thing to do – especially since it was documented in the school’s discipline reports. I am not naive in that there are other Scholars who engage in pledge violations. I don’t go looking to “catch” students in their mistakes. The biggest reason for me to push the issue for this case is that the violation was documented in school records.
- We have reported students that were involved in illegal activity and were incarcerated.
- Q: How do students know if they receive the 21st Century scholarship? And what are our responsibilities at the end of their senior year? I know that we need to upload a final transcript. Is there anything else we need to do?
- A: Students receive the scholarship by fulfilling the Scholar Pledge, which includes graduating with at least a Core 40 Diploma and no less than a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Additionally, Scholars must complete ALL 12 required activities of the Scholar Success Program before their award is created. You do not need to upload a transcript to report the student’s diploma and GPA. From Counselor Talk (May 2019)
- Q: If a senior is a 21st century scholar and earns a passing ASVAB score for the pathways route to a diploma, does that replace having to pass the ISTEP in regard to earning the scholarship?
- A: In order to earn the 21st Century Scholarship, a student must graduate with a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, earn a Core 40 diploma or higher, and complete the Scholar Success program, including filing the FAFSA on time. We do not collect information about testing, so as long as a Scholar meets the criteria above, they can earn the scholarship.
- If a student receives other financial aid from the college/university or an outside scholarship provider, and that other financial aid can only be used to pay for tuition and fees, then the 21st Century Scholarship can be applied to the remaining tuition balance. If the student has no tuition balance, the college will not claim the scholarship. It cannot be used for other expenses like housing or books, so if she has no outstanding tuition or regularly assessed fees, nothing will be claimed.
- Q: I sent out an email and the application [for the 21st Century Scholarship] to all 7th and 8th grade parents last week and had a parent send the application back to me. Is it my responsibility to enter the information? (Counselor Talk, October 2018)
- A: I send the email with the link and all the info several times a year. I do not fill out anything. I tell them they can come see me if they need help. I have never had anyone ask for help. It is an easy application. Don’t start doing it, or you will be expected to do it all the time.
- The biggest issue I run into is that the families do not want to give out their personal financial information. I would say if you have the ability of funds, have a dinner/informational meeting and get as many computers out as possible and have them do it right there. I have found that a meal is a good motivator to getting the families to come in, and if possible a room with volunteer adults of older kiddos (if you have access to a high school NHS program) to help set up a kind of babysitting for younger siblings to go to during the meeting.
- We mail home paper forms with our enrollment paperwork over the summer. I also send home paper forms for each 8th grader who may qualify that has not applied at each parent conference. In April, I call and take the info over the phone for those that remain on my list. End of May, I make home visits to whomever is still on my list. Our school is 95% free/reduced lunch so enrollment is a priority. 100% of eligible families must apply or give me a note saying that they know about the program and know they do not qualify.
- We increased our enrollment by adding incentives. Our community foundation gave us money to create a class competition between the 7th and 8th grade, the class with the highest applied % gets a pizza party. Also any student that has applied, enrolled or denied, is entered into a drawing for a tablet. We give a tablet to a 7th and 8th grade student.
- I call, using the school auto-call system, allowing families to use the paper worksheet and have my secretary use the info to apply for them, set up a sign up station at the local soup kitchen one evening, had a Saturday sign up at the local library, used my college intern to pull kids out and have them fill out all but the parent income and signature and then have the kid take the worksheet home. I also had sign up time right before my freshmen orientation and used the grant funds to pay mileage and gave a sack of groceries from my school food pantry.
- Incorporate the enrollment with registration and have the application become standard practice with the application for F/R lunch. I relied heavily on the “worksheet” and then entered the applications for the families. I was able to catch mistakes that way too. The “worksheet” is also printed by the state in Spanish. We had an interpreter meet with me and families to help complete the form and answer questions too.
- Incentives for students who complete a 21st Century Scholars Application (from Counselor Talk, April 2018);
- Have them all complete a Google Form and let them choose their own incentive
- [Do] something to give them a glimmer of what a wonderful opportunity college is
- (Counselortalk, August 2018) Question: I have a student who lives with his grandparents. His grandparents are his guardians. His grandmother is concerned that she won’t qualify. I thought I heard at one point that if family members had guardianship and are over the income limit they still may qualify. Is this the case? Or am I confusing this with something else? Answer: Thank you for your question. If the grandparents are the student’s legal guardians, then our income standards are waived for eligibility purposes on the application. (Greg Harrell, School & Community Outreach Manager, Indiana Commission for Higher Education)
- (Counselortalk, August 2018) Question: Does anyone have a parent letter they send home explaining 21st Century Scholars? Answer: We send home this flyer from 21st Century Scholars. We also used this letter specifically to 8th graders that still had not applied in the spring. 21CS Enrollment Flyer – Full Page – FINAL and 8th Grade Note 3.13.18
- NEW-2018/19 Scholar Enrollment flyers and Application worksheets: Enrollment Flyer – Full Page, Enrollment Flyer – Half Page, Enrollment Flyer – Spanish, 2018-2019 Enrollment Application Worksheet, 2018-2019 Enrollment Application Worksheet (Spanish)
- Scholar Track Login: https://secure.in.gov/apps/Che/scholartrack/
- Parent Resources for 21st Century Scholars: http://scholars.in.gov/parents/
- Educator Resources for 21st Century Scholars: http://scholars.in.gov/educators/
- List of Participating Colleges: http://scholars.in.gov/eligible-colleges/
- List of Available Resources to use in various formats and for different audiences: http://scholars.in.gov/resources/
- An updated College Incentives Guide is on the CHE website. It lists all incentives that colleges provide 21st Century Scholars, but for public and private institutions: http://scholars.in.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2017-18_Scholar_Incentives_Guide_10_23.pdf
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