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FAQs

Complete your understanding of the 21st Century Scholars Program with the detailed questions and answers below. Answers to more specific questions are always available by calling the Scholars Helpline at 1-888-528-4719 or by emailing Scholars@che.IN.gov.

Download a of the FAQs to keep handy for future reference.

Overview

FAQs about the 21st Century Scholars Program

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FAQs for enrolled Scholars

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General Program Questions

1. What is the 21st Century Scholars Program?

Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program is the state’s premier college scholarship and preparation program for low-income Hoosier students. Students who fulfill the Scholar Pledge are provided up to four years of paid tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university. Scholars also receive a variety of support services designed to help them succeed in school and complete college.

Take the Pledge
In exchange for tuition and free support services, 21st Century Scholars make a commitment to excellence in school and in life. When students enroll in 7th or 8th grade, they pledge to:

  • Graduate with an Indiana High School Diploma from a state-accredited high school.
  • Participate in the Scholar Success Program that helps them plan, prepare and pay for college success.
  • Achieve a cumulative high school Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Not use illegal drugs or alcohol, or commit a crime or delinquent act.
  • Apply for college admission and financial aid as a high school senior.

Students' families must meet income eligibility guidelines, and students must apply by June 30 of their 8th grade year.

Succeed in School
Students enrolling in the 21st Century Scholars Program after June 30, 2011 are required to participate in a Scholar Success Program as part of their 21st Century Scholar Pledge. Scholars will not be required to participate in the Scholar Success Program until the Fall 2013 semester.

The Scholar Success Program ensures Scholars have the guidance and support they need to perform academically and plan, prepare and pay for college and career success. Scholars will learn how to plan their path to high school graduation, prepare with the skills they need to be college-ready and pay for college by earning scholarships and filing financial aid forms on time.

Complete College
The final step in the 21st Century Scholars Program is completing college and being career ready. Scholars continue to receive support in college as they plan their path to a degree, prepare for success in the workplace and pay for college with the 21st Century Scholars scholarship. Scholar upperclassmen and alumni also have the opportunity to give back to the program by helping other Scholars be successful.

2. Why was the Program established?

The 21st Century Scholars Program was established to:

  • Reduce the number of students who withdraw from high school before graduation.
  • Increase the number of students who are prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation.
  • Increase the number of students entering postsecondary educational institutions in Indiana.
  • Decrease drug and alcohol abuse by encouraging higher educational pursuits.
  • Increase individual economic vitality.
  • Improve the overall quality of life for many Indiana residents.
3. Am I eligible to enroll in this program?

Complete eligibility requirements are available on this page.

To enroll in the 21st Century Scholars Program you must:

  • Be a resident of Indiana, both when you apply and when you receive the scholarship (determined by the residency of your parent or legal guardian).
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Read more about citizenship qualifications for student financial aid.
  • Be enrolled in the 7th or 8th grade at a public school, charter school, freeway school or other Indiana school recognized by the Indiana Department of Education. Homeschooled students are not eligible for the 21st Century Scholars Program.
  • Fulfill the 21st Century Scholars Pledge.
  • Be one of the following:
    • Placed in foster care.
    • A member of a family at or below the 2012-13 income maximums. (See this page for income eligibility requirements).
4. What is the Scholar Pledge?

The Scholar Pledge is a commitment between the student and the State of Indiana to:

  • Graduate with an Indiana High School Diploma from a state-accredited high school.
  • Participate in the Scholar Success Program that helps them plan, prepare and pay for college success.
  • Achieve a cumulative high school Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Not use illegal drugs or alcohol, or commit a crime or delinquent act.
  • Apply for college admission and financial aid as a high school senior.
5. What does the Program provide?

Students who fulfill the Scholar Pledge receive the 21st Century Scholarship, which provides up to four years of paid tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university. Scholars also receive a variety of support services designed to help them succeed in school and complete college.

6. How do I check my current 21st Century Scholar status?

To check a Scholar's enrollment status, please visit the Scholar status website.

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Eligibility and Income Eligibility

1. Am I eligible to enroll in this Program?

Complete eligibility requirements are available on this page.

To enroll in the 21st Century Scholars Program you must:

  • Be a resident of Indiana, both when you apply and when you receive the scholarship (determined by the residency of your parent or legal guardian).
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. For more information about citizenship qualifications, please read the Division of Student Financial Aid's citizenship guidelines.
  • Be enrolled in the 7th or 8th grade at a public school, charter school, freeway school or other Indiana school recognized by the Indiana Department of Education. Homeschooled students are not eligible for the 21st Century Scholars Program.
  • Fulfill the 21st Century Scholars Pledge.
  • Be one of the following:
    • Placed in foster care.
    • A member of a family at or below the 2012-13 income maximums. (See this page for income eligibility requirements).
2. What is the Scholar Pledge?

The Scholar Pledge is a commitment between the student and the State of Indiana to:

  • Graduate with an Indiana High School Diploma from a state-accredited high school.
  • Participate in the Scholar Success Program that helps them plan, prepare and pay for college success.
  • Achieve a cumulative high school Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Not use illegal drugs or alcohol, or commit a crime or delinquent act.
  • Apply for college admission and financial aid as a high school senior.
3. I am currently home schooled. Can I enroll in the Program?

Home school students are not eligible for the 21st Century Scholars Program at this time. Learn more about other State of Indiana financial aid resources that are available for home school students.

4. Who are considered household members?

All persons living in the same household as the Scholar applicant should be included in the household size on the student’s application. Only people physically residing in the same household as the applicant can be included in the household size.

5. My household income is over the Program eligibility guidelines. Can I reapply for the Scholarship?

Yes, you may enroll in the 21st Century Scholars program by June 30 in the 7th or 8th grade. In order for you to be enrolled in the Program, your household income must be within the program guidelines during the tax year preceding the year in which you apply.

6. How do I report my income on the 2012-2013 application, since I am currently not employed?

Parent(s) or legal guardian(s) should report income from all sources received in the household during the immediately preceding taxable year. For example, if you are applying on or before December 31, 2012, you must provide your total income received in 2011. If you are applying after December 31, 2012, you must provide your total income received in 2012.

7. My household income may change between the time of enrollment and graduation. How will this affect my Scholarship?

Once enrolled, an increase in family income will NOT affect a student's eligibility to participate in the 21st Century Scholars Program. However, an increase in household income may alter the amount of the student’s 21st Century Scholarship award for students who enrolled in the Program after June 30, 2011.

8. Which year of household income should be included on the application?

All income from all sources received in the applicant's household during the immediately preceding taxable year should be included on the application. For example, if you are applying on or before December 31, 2012, you must provide your total income received in 2011. If you are applying after December 31, 2012, you must provide your total income received in 2012.

9. Whose income should be used if I live half the year with each of my parents?

If your parents have joint physical custody, then you should provide the household size and accompanying income for the parent with whom the applicant resides at the time of application.

10. Should I leave the income section blank, since I have not filed my taxes at the time of completing the application?

No. All income from all sources received in the applicant's household during the immediately preceding tax year should be included on the application. For example, if you are applying on or before December 31, 2012, you must provide your total income received in 2011. If you are applying after December 31, 2012, you must provide your total income received in 2012.

11. Can I include child(ren) not living in the household since we pay child support for the child(ren)?

No, the child receiving support is not living in your household and therefore should not be included in the household size on your application.

12. I qualify for free or reduced lunched through my school. Does this automatically make me eligible for the 21st Century Scholars Program?

No, eligibility is based on income. All students must apply to the 21st Century Scholars Program in order to be enrolled into the program. It is not a requirement of the program that students must participate in the free and reduced lunch program in order to qualify to enroll in the 21st Century Scholars program, and participating in the free and reduced lunch program does not automatically qualify a student for the program.

13. My parent(s) lost their job during 2011 or 2012. How should we complete the income section of the application?

If you are applying on or before December 31, 2012 you must provide your total income received in 2011. If you are applying after December 31, 2012 you must provide your total income received in 2012.

14. My 2012 household income exceeds the Program guidelines. Can we use our 2011 or 2012 income on the application?

No, if you are applying on or before December 31, 2012 you must provide your total income received in 2011. If you are applying after December 31, 2012 you must provide your total income received in 2012.

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How to Enroll

1. When can I enroll in the 21st Century Scholars Program?

Students may submit an application for enrollment on or before June 30, during their 7th or 8th grade year.

2. How do I enroll in the 21st Century Scholars Program?

The online application is available on the Scholars website. In some cases, a community organization or school will accept paper applications, and then enter the information online on behalf of the student.

3. What is the deadline for the 21st Century Scholars application?

Applications must be completed online on or before June 30 of the student’s 7th or 8th grade year.

4. Should I complete an application each year while my child is in the 7th or 8th grade?

No, once enrolled in the program you do not need to complete a new application. If your application was denied while your child was in the 7th grade you may apply again before June 30 of the student’s 8th grade year.

5. I already have child(ren) in the 21st Century Scholars Program. Should I complete one for my other child who is in the 7th or 8th grade?

Yes, each student will need to submit a completed, online application for enrollment.

6. I was denied enrollment in the 21st Century Scholars Program. How do I file an appeal?

Appeals can be filed by mailing the appeal form and supporting documentation to the 21st Century Scholars Program office. Details about the appeals process can be found on this page.

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Updating Contact Information

1. How do I update my contact information with the 21st Century Scholars Program?

Scholars can update their contact information online.

2. Why is it important that I keep the 21st Century Scholars Program informed of any changes to my contact information?

One of the most important parts of becoming a 21st Century Scholar is maintaining communication with the 21st Century Scholars program. Keep the Scholars Program aware of changes to your contact information so that you do not miss crucial notifications of program requirements or opportunities throughout middle and high school. Notifications help students fulfill the Scholar Success Program and participate in opportunities that will help them prepare for college completion and career success.

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Middle School

1. I applied to the 21st Century Scholars Program. When will I be notified of my status within the Program?

You will receive electronic or written confirmation of your enrollment status within the program within 120 days of the completion and submission of your enrollment application.

2. Are there any events or activities that I am required to attend as a middle school student enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars Program?

Scholars are required to complete the Scholar Success Program during high school. However, during middle school, there will be various activities and events offered to middle school students enrolled in the Program that are strongly encouraged.

3. I am enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars Program and will be repeating a grade or will be skipping a grade. Do I need to inform the Program of the change in my grade level?

Yes, changes in a student's grade level need to be reported to the 21st Century Scholars program by the guidance counselor or other approved school personnel from the school the student attends.

4. I believe I may have broken the Scholar Pledge. Is it my responsibility to report this potential pledge violation to the Program?

Yes. It is the responsibility of a Scholar and his or her parent to report potential pledge violations to the program as soon as they become aware of the violation.

Potential pledge violations should be reported to:

21st Century Scholars
402 West Washington Street, Room W462
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Reports should include the full name of the Scholar, a description of the potential violation and an original signature of the person making the report.

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High School

1. What if my household income changes between the time of enrollment and graduation?

Once enrolled, an increase in household income will not affect a student's eligibility to participate in the 21st Century Scholars Program. However, an increase in household income may alter the amount of the student’s 21st Century Scholarship award for students who enrolled in the Program after June 30, 2011.

2. I am enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars Program and will be repeating a grade or will be skipping a grade. Do I need to inform the Program of the change in my grade level?

Yes, changes in a student's grade level need to be reported to the 21st Century Scholars Program by the guidance counselor or other approved school personnel from the school the student attends.

3. As a 21st Century Scholar, must I achieve a certain Grade Point Average (GPA) in high school?

21st Century Scholars must meet cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) requirements to receive the 21st Century Scholarship. The Indiana state legislature changed GPA requirements effective June 30, 2011.

For students who enrolled in the Program after June 30, 2011, the GPA requirement is 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Students must have a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.5 when they graduate in order to receive the Scholarship.

For students who enrolled in the Program prior to June 30, 2011, the GPA requirement is 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 when they graduate in order to receive the Scholarship.

4. If I fail a course in high school, causing my GPA to fall below 2.5 for a semester, will I lose the Scholarship?

The Scholarship depends only on your cumulative (overall) Grade Point Average (GPA). If your GPA falls below requirements for one or more semesters, you may still receive the Scholarship if your cumulative GPA meets requirements.

5. Can I use the Scholarship if I graduate high school early?

Yes. You must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and an Affirmation Form before the March deadline of your final year in high school in order to activate the award early. You should also inform the Scholars program of your plans by contacting the 21st Century Scholars office at 1-888-528-4719 or 21stScholars@sfa.che.in.gov.

6. Are there any events or activities I am required to attend as a high school student enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars Program?

Starting in Fall 2013, students who enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars Program after June 30, 2011 will be required to participate in the Scholar Success Program. Scholars who enrolled prior to June 30, 2011 are strongly encouraged to complete the Scholar Success Program, too, to plan, prepare and pay for college completion and career success. The Scholar Success Program is currently under development and will be announced on the 21st Century Scholars website in Spring 2013.

Additionally, events and activities are offered specifically for 21st Century Scholars in all regions of the state. Some events are mandatory for high school seniors completing the affirmation process (the Senior Promise). While these events are not mandatory, Scholars are strongly encouraged to take advantage of opportunities in their communities.

Check the events calendar on the Scholars homepage for events in your community, and be sure to read your email and check for mail from the 21st Century Scholars Program.

7. I believe I may have broken the Scholar Pledge. Is it my responsibility to report this potential pledge violation to the program?

Yes. It is the responsibility of a Scholar student and/or the student’s parent to report potential pledge violations to the program as soon as they become aware of the violation.

Potential pledge violations should be reported to:

21st Century Scholars
402 West Washington Street, Room W462
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Reports should include the full name of the Scholar, a description of the potential violation and an original signature of the person making the report.

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High School Seniors

1. Can I receive the Scholarship if I earn a GED, Indiana High School Equivalency Certificate, or complete a home schooling program?

No. If you earn a GED, Indiana High School Equivalency Certificate, or complete a home schooling program you are not eligible to receive the 21st Century Scholarship. You must graduate with a diploma from an eligible high school recognized by the Indiana Department of Education (as agreed to in the Scholar Pledge).

2. Are there any forms I need to complete as a high school senior?

Yes. As a senior in high school, you need to complete an Affirmation Form and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Both the Affirmation Form and the FAFSA must be completed and submitted by the state deadline of March 10.

3. Are there any activities or events that I am required to attend as a high school senior enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars Program?

There will be various activities and events offered to high school students enrolled in the program that are strongly encouraged, and some will be mandatory. Check the events calendar on the Scholars homepage for events in your community, and be sure to read your email and check for mail from the 21st Century Scholars Program.

4. As a 21st Century Scholar, must I achieve a certain Grade Point Average (GPA) in high school?

Yes, 21st Century Scholars who enrolled in the Program before June 30, 2011 and who will graduate in 2013 or 2014 must earn a cumulative high school GPA of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

21st Century Scholars who will graduate after 2014 must earn a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

If you are graduating during 2014 but you are graduating early (fewer than eight semesters of high school) or late (more than eight semesters), please contact the 21st Century Scholars Program office to determine which GPA requirement applies to you. The office can be reached at 1-888-528-4719 or by emailing 21stScholars@sfa.che.in.gov.

5. I am a current high school senior. If I fail a course in high school, causing my GPA to fall below 2.0 (or 2.5) for a semester, will I lose the scholarship?

The Program requires that the overall (or cumulative) high school GPA for high school seniors graduating in 2013 to be 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Therefore, a current senior 21st Century Scholar will remain eligible if he or she graduates high school with an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale; even if his or her high school GPA has fallen below 2.0 on a 4.0 scale sometime during his or her high school career.

6. I believe I may have broken the Scholar Pledge. Is it my responsibility to report this potential pledge violation to the Program?

Yes. It is the responsibility of a Scholar student and/or his/her parent to report potential pledge violations to the program, as soon as they become aware of the violation.
 
Potential pledge violations should be reported to:

21st Century Scholars
402 West Washington Street, Room W462
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Reports should include the full name of the Scholar, a description of the potential violation and an original signature of the person making the report.

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High School Graduates and College Students

1. What steps must I, as an eligible 21st Century Scholar, take to use my Scholarship?
  • Be enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars program.
  • Maintain Indiana residency, as determined by the permanent residence of your parent or legal guardian.
  • Submit an Affirmation Form by March 10 of your senior year in high school.
  • Apply to and be admitted to an eligible Indiana college, university or proprietary school as a high school senior.
  • Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the March 10 deadline during your senior year of high school. You can request a FAFSA to be mailed to you or you can complete the FAFSA online at Fafsa.ed.gov.
  • Fix any errors on your FAFSA by the May 15 deadline.
  • Respond to any requests for additional information from the 21st Century Scholars program, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education or your college by stated deadlines.
2. How will the Scholarship funds be distributed?

Once accepted and enrolled full-time at an eligible institution, the 21st Century Scholarship will be disbursed directly to the college on behalf of the student. Your tuition bill will reflect the amount deducted for the 21st Century Scholarship. Money will never be paid directly to a student.

3. Can I use the Scholarship if I am enrolled in college courses as a part-time student?

No. You must be enrolled as a full-time student.

4. Where can I use my 21st Century Scholarship?

Your 21st Century Scholars award can be used at an eligible public, private (independent) or proprietary school in Indiana. Institutions outside the state of Indiana are not eligible to receive 21st Century Scholarship funds.

5. Can I receive the Scholarship if I transfer or withdraw once I begin college?

Yes. You may transfer or withdraw once you begin college. However, you must file a FAFSA each year by the state deadline. Additionally, the 21st Century Scholarship must be used within eight years after the date you first enroll in college.

6. Must I enroll in college immediately after high school graduation?

No. You have one year to begin using your award. So if you graduate in May 2013, you have until the Fall 2014 semester to activate your scholarship. Remember that you must complete an Affirmation Form and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 10 of your senior year of high school, even if you are not attending college in the fall. Additionally, the FAFSA must be filed by March 10 of each subsequent year.

7. What happens if I decided to serve in the military, causing me to exceed the one-year requirement to begin college as a full-time student?

If you exceed the one-year requirement to begin college as a full-time college student due to active-duty service in the military you will need to submit a letter of appeal and a copy of your DD214 to:

Division of Student Financial Aid
ATTN: Appeals
402 West Washington Street, Room W462
Indianapolis, IN 46204
8. What does the 21st Century Scholarship cover?

The scholarship covers undergraduate tuition and regularly assessed fees at an approved public institution. The scholarship covers only a portion of the tuition and fees at a private (independent) school. At proprietary schools, the scholarship amount is the same as if the student were to attend Ivy Tech Community College. For schools which charge by the credit hour, the scholarship covers a maximum of 15 credit hours per term. All eligible institutions are in Indiana.

The scholarship does not cover the cost of books, room and board, parking fees, lab fees or any other fees assessed that are not assessed to all students.

9. What if the college listed as the first choice on my FAFSA is not the school I decide to attend?

If you decide to attend any college other than the one listed as the first choice on your FAFSA, you must change your first choice college selection through eStudent at www.ssaci.in.gov/estudent.

10. What is eStudent?

eStudent is an online service for students who have filed a FAFSA as residents of the State of Indiana. The eStudent site allows you to:

  • See any issues with your FAFSA that could prevent you from receiving state aid, so that you can make necessary changes.
  • View your state grant award amount.
  • View your state grant history.
  • View your grant application which includes information from your FAFSA, your diploma type, your 21st Century Scholar status, National Guard status and school of choice.
  • Update your school of choice. Please make sure the school you are attending is listed as we will only send your grant information to that school.
11. My award notice from my college shows the 21st Century Scholars Award as paying only a small portion of my tuition. Why?

The 21st Century Scholarship is a supplemental scholarship, meaning it is applied only after all other tuition-specific aid is applied. Also, the scholarship has maximum limits set by state law.

12. Won't I pay more of my own money if I attend a private college rather than a public college?

Not necessarily. Private colleges are generally more expensive than public colleges, and while the 21st Century Scholarship only pays an amount equivalent to the average tuition at a public institution, private colleges often offer more institutional financial aid. You may not know how much financial aid you will be offered until you apply and are accepted to the college, so it is always worthwhile to apply to several colleges. Many will also waive application fees if you indicate that you are a 21st Century Scholar, so don’t hesitate to ask the college’s financial aid office about fee waivers.

13. What support is available to me once I am enrolled in college?

Colleges must provide support services to Scholars who enroll in their schools. Scholars are not required to participate in the support programs provided by their colleges, but the opportunity is a definite advantage and will increase your chance of completing college on time with a valuable degree. Support services vary widely from one college to another, but examples of support include tutoring assistance, financial aid assistance and personal assistance in adapting to college life, social opportunities and service opportunities. At some campuses, Scholar Corps members provide specific support services and mentoring just for 21st Century Scholars. See the last part of our staff list for a list of Scholar Corps members.

14. I have already earned a bachelor's degree, but have semester(s) of Scholarship eligibility remaining. Can I use those semesters of eligibility toward a second bachelor's degree or toward an advanced degree?

Congratulations on completing a college degree! Unfortunately, 21st Century Scholarship funds can only be applied to approved costs associated with attaining your first bachelor's degree.

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