21st Century Scholars

21st Cent Scholars Logo

Twenty-First Century Scholars is a state-funded scholarship program for economically disadvantaged Hoosiers.  Students apply in their 7th or 8th grade year and have to maintain the 21st Century Scholars pledge all through high school.  If they do, upon college acceptance they can receive scholarships covering Indiana in-state tuition!  The details of the program are below, along with links to the official website (click on the logo) and some great printable resources from their offices.



To be a 21st Century Scholar, a student must:


1.  Be a resident of Indiana, as determined by the residency of the legal guardian(s).


2.  Be a U.S. citizen, or an eligible non-citizen.  Who is this?
  - US citizens or Nationals, US permanent residents with “Green Cards”
  - Non-citizens who are:
       refugees, individuals to whom asylum has been granted, on indefinite or humanitarian parole
      Cuban-Haitian entrants with status pending
Bottom line: you must have a valid social security number to be eligible.


3. Be enrolled at an Indiana school that has been accredited by the Indiana  Department of Education.
  Scholars apply in the 7th or 8th grade (8th grade for students in the foster care system).  Home-schooled students are not eligible.


4. Meet the maximum income requirements upon application, which can be found here.


5.   Pledge to:

a.    Graduate with a Indiana Core 40 Diploma Diploma from a High School at an accredited institution

b.    Participate in the Scholar Success Program

The Scholar Success Program is a series of steps and activities that are tracked via the Scholar Track website (in.gov/scholartrack).  Each year of high school there are forms and requirements to complete:

9th Grade:  complete a Graduation Plan (to be updated every year)
                    Participate in extracurriculars
                    Watch “Paying for College 101” on the ScholarTrack website

10th Grade:  Take a Career Interest Assessment
                    Get workplace experience (in the form of a job, internship or job shadowing, with which Starfish can help)
                    Compete the College Costs Estimator 

11th Grade: Visit a college campus (and track it online)
                   Take ACT/SATs (College entrance exams)
                   Search for additional scholarships (other than 21st Century)

12th Grade: Submit a college application
                  Watch “College 101” on ScholarTrack
                  File the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

c.       Graduate with a GPA of minimum 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (this is cumulative, so one semester below the GPA requirement is not definite removal from the program)

d.      Not use drugs, consume alcohol, or commit a crime or delinquent act

e.      Apply to an eligible Indiana college, university, or proprietary (for-profit) institution

f.        Apply to FAFSA by March 10 of Senior year

*If you fall behind on any of these requirements, you are able to make an appeal to stay in the program 


The Scholarship

Covers Tuition and Fees (ex: technological fees)


-          Tuition and fees is defined as: for public and private universities, the cost of public tuition; for Ivy Tech Community College and proprietary institutions, the cost of Ivy Tech tuition.


-          It does not cover room and board, books, or other expenses;  However, some schools offer additional incentives for 21st Century Scholars (speak to your individual admissions officers for more details)

-          Is awarded after all other federal and state given aid, which is to say that you will never receive more than the cost of tuition from the State of Indiana

-          Is contingent on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated by the FAFSA showing that the student needs financial assistance, which is re-evaluated yearly*

if the EFC does not demonstrate a financial need and the scholar has not already received assistance from 21st Century Scholars, the student will receive a one-time award of $2,500.

if the EFC does not demonstrate financial need and the scholars has received assistance from 21st Century Scholars previously, no awards will be administered


-          The scholarship will be awarded as funds are available.  This means that while the state of Indiana will do its best to cover tuition, Scholars are not guaranteed the full amount of the award every year (this is another reason why searching for other scholarships is so important)

-          Students may take semesters off and remain eligible as long as they continue to file FAFSAs every year up to 8 years after high school graduation

-          Can only be applied to the first bachelor’s degree

*This is not true for all applicants; to see a list of exceptions, click here

Once in College

To remain eligible and receive the full amount of the scholarship you must:


1.       Enroll in an Indiana institution of higher education within one year of graduating high school


2.       Make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), as determined by the individual institution


3.       Meet 21st Century Scholars Academic Standards:

- Complete 30 credits each academic year

 “academic year” is defined by one year from enrollment.  For example, if a student enrolls in College fall semester 2014, they have until the end of the summer semester 2015 to complete 30 credits.  AP and dual enrollment credits from high school count towards the first year’s 30 credit requirement.

- file a FAFSA on time (by March 10) every year


4.       Be enrolled as a full-time student (12 credits per semester minimum).

The scholarship is valid for up to 8 semesters (or quarter/trimester equivalent) of tuition (summer terms are non-eligible) and can be used for a maximum of 8 years after high school graduation.



Grade 9 Checklist:  http://www.in.gov/21stcenturyscholars/files/Grade_9_Scholar_Checklist.pdf

Grade 10 Checklist:  http://www.in.gov/21stcenturyscholars/files/Grade_10_Scholar_Checklist.pdf

Grade 11 Checklist:  http://www.in.gov/21stcenturyscholars/files/Grade_11_Scholar_Checklist.pdf

Grade 12 Checklist:  http://www.in.gov/21stcenturyscholars/files/Grade_12_Scholar_Checklist.pdf

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