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Frequently Asked Questions Frequently Asked Questions

(Posted December 10, 2012)

FAQs: About 21st Century Scholars Program

Do you have questions about the 21st Century Scholars Program?

Select from the following topics to find your question:

FAQs: Enrolled Scholar Questions

Now that I am enrolled in the program, what should I do next?

Select from the following topics to find your question:

General Program Questions

1. What is the 21st Century Scholars Program?

Indianaʼs 21st Century Scholars Program is the stateʼs 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 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 seventh or eighth 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 guidelines, and students must apply by June 30 of their eighth-grade year.

Succeed in School

21st Century Scholars understand that they have to work hard to excel in school. By participating in the Scholar Success Program during high school, Scholars receive the support they need to perform academically and plan, prepare and pay for college and career success. Scholars 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.

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 part of their 21st Century Scholar Pledge. The Scholar Success Program is currently under development and will be announced on the 21st Century Scholars website during the spring 2013 term. Scholars will not be required to participate in the Scholar Success Program until the Fall 2013 semester.

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 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.
  • Encourage eligible students to attend postsecondary educational institutions in Indiana by reducing the financial burden on the eligible students and their families.
  • 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?

You qualify if you:

  • Are a resident of Indiana as an applicant and as an award recipient (determined by the residency of your parent or legal guardian).
  • Are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Click here for more information about citizenship qualifications.
  • Are enrolled in the seventh or eighth grade at a state-accredited public or private school recognized by the Indiana Department of Education.
  • Agree to fulfill the 21st Century Scholar Pledge.
  • Meet income-eligibility and related requirements. Click here for more information about eligibility requirements.

4. What is the Scholar Pledge?

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

  • 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 are provided up to four years of paid tuition at an 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, visit http://www.in.gov/ssaci/2557.htm.

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Program & Income Eligibility

1. Am I eligible to enroll in this Program?

You qualify if you:

  • Are a resident of Indiana as an applicant and as an award recipient (determined by the residency of your parent or legal guardian).
  • Are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. For more information about citizenship qualifications visit http://www.scholars.in.gov/.
  • Are enrolled in the seventh or eighth grade at a state-accredited public or private school recognized by the Indiana Department of Education.
  • Meet eligibility requirements, including, placement in foster care, or a family income at or below the programs maximums.

2. What is the Scholar Pledge?

The Scholar Pledge is a commitment made between the student and the Scholars Program which states that the student will:

  • 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?

No, home schools are not recognized by the Indiana Department of Education and therefore are not considered eligible schools to enroll students into the 21st Century Scholars Program. Please visit http://www.in.gov/ssaci/ for information on other State of Indiana financial aid resources.

4. Who are considered household members?

ALL persons living in the same household as the applicant should be included in the household size on the application. Only people physically residing in the same household as the applicant can be included in the household size.

5. My income is over the Program eligibility guidelines, can I reapply for the Scholarship?

Yes, you may apply to the 21st Century Scholars program by June 30 in the seventh or eighth grade. Your household income must be within the program guidelines during the preceding tax year in which you apply in order for you to be enrolled in the program.

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

9. Whose income should be used if 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 31st, 2012, you must provide your total income received in 2011. If you are applying after December 31st, 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 31st, 2012 you must provide your total income received in 2011. If you are applying after December 31st, 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 31st, 2012 you must provide your total income received in 2011. If you are applying after December 31st, 2012 you must provide your total income received in 2012.

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How to Apply

1. When can I apply for the 21st Century Scholars Program?

Students may submit an application for enrollment on or before June 30, during their seventh or eighth grade year.

2. How do I apply for the 21st Century Scholars Program?

You can apply online. Click here or visit http://www.scholars.in.gov/.

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

2012-2013 applications must be completed online on or before June 30, 2013.

4. Should I complete an application each year while my child is in the seventh or eighth 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 sixth or seventh grade you may apply again before June 30th of the student’s eighth grade year.

5. I already have a child(ren) in the 21st Century Scholars Program, should I complete one for my other child who is in the seventh or eighth grade?

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

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Updating my Personal Information

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

Scholars can update their information at http://www.in.gov/ssaci/2557.htm.

2. Why is it important that I keep the 21st Century Scholars Program informed of any changes to my personal 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 personal information so that you do not miss crucial notifications of program requirements or opportunities throughout middle and high school. The notifications are meant to help each student fulfill the Scholar Success Program as well as participate in opportunities and receive information that will help students prepare for their post-secondary endeavors.

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Middle School Questions

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 fulfill 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.

5. How do I report a potential pledge 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 Questions

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?

Yes, 21st Century Scholars who are currently high school juniors or seniors must earn a cumulative high school GPA of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

21st Century Scholars who are in junior high school or freshmen or sophomores in high school will have to earn a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale upon high school graduation.

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 program requires that the overall high school GPA of students be 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for current high school seniors upon high school graduation. Therefore, a current senior 21st Century Scholar will remain eligible if he or she graduates high school with a diploma and an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale; even if his or her high school GPA has fallen below 2.5 on a 4.0 scale sometime during his or her high school career.

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 888-528-4719.

6. Are there any events or activities I am required to attend as a high school student 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. 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. The Scholar Success Program is currently under development and will be announced on the 21st Century Scholars website during the spring 2013 term. Scholars will not be required to participate in the Scholar Success Program until the Fall 2013 semester.

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 his/her parent to report potential pledge violations to the program as soon as they become aware of the violation.

8. How do I report a potential pledge 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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The High School Senior Year

1. Can I receive the Scholarship if I earn a GED or complete a home schooling program?

No. If you earn a GED or complete a home schooling program you are NOT eligible to receive the award. 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 (received on or before March 10th).

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.

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

Yes, 21st Century Scholars who are currently enrolled as high school juniors or seniors must earn a cumulative high school GPA of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

21st Century Scholars who are currently in middle school or are freshmen or sophomores in high school will have to earn a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

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

The program requires that the overall (or cumulative) high school GPA for current high school seniors 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 2.5 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.

7. How do I report a potential pledge 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 Graduate

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 the March 10th 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 10th 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 http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
  • Fix any errors on your FAFSA by the May 15th deadline.
  • Respond by stated deadlines to any request for additional information from the 21st Century Scholars program, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, or your college.

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. Money will NOT be paid directly to the 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 Scholars Award?

Your 21st Century Scholars award can be used at an eligible public, private (independent) or proprietary school in Indiana. A list of all eligible schools and institutions can be found online at http://www.in.gov/ssaci/2334.htm. 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 and every year by the state deadline. Additionally, the 21st Century Scholarship must be used within eight (8) years after the date the student first becomes eligible for the scholarship.

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 during your senior year by the March deadline and also submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the March 10th deadline of your senior year of high school and 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 Scholars Program 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 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.

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:

  • Indicates if there are any issues with your FAFSA that could prevent you from receiving state aid, so that you can make necessary changes.
  • Allows you to see your state grant award.
  • Allows you to view your state grant history.
  • Allows you to 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.
  • Allows you to update your school of choice. Please make sure the school you are attending is listed with ICHE Division of Student Financial Aid 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. Moreover, 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.

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

Colleges must provide support services to Scholars who enroll in their school. Scholars are not required to participate in the support programs provided by their college but this support is to your advantage. 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.

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

No, scholarship funds can only be applied to approved costs associated with the attainment of a first bachelor's degree.

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