Ind. (AP) — A bill making its way through Indiana's General Assembly would
change the laws governing need-based state financial aid to add more
requirements for students.
largest grant programs would see new stipulations for credit hours that a
student must successfully complete to remain eligible, The Journal Gazette
in the 21st Century Scholars program would drop down to the Frank O'Bannon
grant if they complete fewer than 30 credit hours a year. O'Bannon grant
recipients who complete fewer than 24 credit hours a year could lose their
survey of 9,000 Indiana college students who are receiving state financial
aid found that only half are taking enough courses to graduate in four
"We have to do
something different to encourage kids to get in and out in four years,"
Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, told The Journal Gazette. "We're focusing on
the kids progressing toward a degree."
sponsoring the bill, which passed the House 77 to 18 and is now in the
about $250 million a year on the O'Bannon and 21st Century Scholars
programs. More than 73,000 students are enrolled in the two programs.
Century scholars program provides full tuition and fees at public
universities for students who sign up in middle school and meet certain
character requirements. These grants, on average, are worth about $7,600 a
year. The O'Bannon grant provides a maximum of about $3,900 a year. Both
are need-based programs with income requirements.
would be phased in over multiple years so current college students would
not be affected.
The bill also
would create incentives for students who do well. The O'Bannon grant would
provide an additional $1,400 to students who graduated high school with an
honors diploma. For college sophomore, juniors and seniors, the grant
would award an extra $1,400 to those who earned at least a 3.0 grade-point
average during the previous academic year. Students who completed 39 or
more credit hours during the previous academic year also would get an
get a bachelor's degree in four years would receive a $1,000 bonus, which
could rise to $1,500 if they graduate early. The money could go toward
moving expenses for a job, a professional wardrobe or to pay down student
loans, among other things.
"We hope the
students will be able to stay in by changing their behavior," Mary Jane
Michalak, associate commissioner of student financial aid, told The
Journal Gazette. "That means completing courses. Right now, the state is
paying for courses students never complete."
The bill also
requires public universities to create a guide for every student that
tells them what courses they need to take to graduate in four years. The
bill also says universities must provide free courses if a student can't
get into a class through no fault of their own.
financial aid covers only four years' worth of classes.