INDIANAPOLIS (AP) A proposal to tighten requirements for Indiana's popular
21st Century Scholars program for low-income students is in limbo after a
legislative committee removed it from a package of revisions to college
financial aid programs.
The House Education Committee also diluted proposals that would have limited
the number of full college scholarships given to the children of disabled
The committee on Monday deleted changes to the 21st Century Scholars program
because a similar bill was caught up in the five-week boycott by House
Democrats over unrelated issues.
Changes approved by the Senate would increase the required high school
grade-point average from 2.0 to 2.5 for a student to receive the
Nearly 13,000 students received 21st Century scholarships last school year
up 44 percent from 2006. Those students promised as middle school students
to not use drugs, stay out of criminal trouble and receive acceptable
Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, said he was committed to making changes to the
21st Century Scholars program to ensure its long-term sustainability.
Dermody has sponsored a bill that would have required a check at the end of
high school to make sure students still met the income guidelines for the
Dermody said he was looking for a way to put the provisions into another
bill in the Senate, which would be allowed under the agreement House leaders
reached to end Democrats walkout over GOP-backed legislation they consider
an assault on labor unions and public education.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville,
sponsored the proposals in the Senate and could restore them to the state
I'm not sure where we're going, Kenley told The Journal Gazette of Fort
Wayne. The ball is in (the House's) court.
The House committee also removed many of the changes to the college
scholarship program for the children of disabled veterans that Kenley had
That plan would have continued granting full scholarships to children of
deceased veterans and to those of veterans who are at least 80 percent
disabled. Benefits for others would be staggered based on the parent's level
Kenley said no funding cuts were planned for the program but that he wanted
to make sure money was available for the children of those serving in Iraq
Veterans groups have opposed those changes, saying it devalues the
sacrifices of disabled veterans.
The committee took out all reference to disability percentages and instead
simply limits the scholarships based on a few eligibility changes. For
instance, children must use the scholarships before age 32, any federal
tuition aid must be used first and parents must live in Indiana.
Kenley said he didn't believe those changes would save money over the long