Profile Story - Future Success

A Roadmap to Future Success

Education has the power to change lives. But many students, especially those who are the first in their families to go to college and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, need additional support. Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program is designed to help build a bridge to achievement for these students.

Students who are part of the 21st Century Scholars Program sign a “pledge” in the eighth grade in which they agree to fulfill certain academic requirements. In return for completing those requirements, they are guaranteed a four-year grant to cover the cost of college tuition at any public institution in Indiana.

Beyond its financial component, the 21st Century Scholars Program provides an intensive network of resources and opportunities—including first-year seminars, summer bridge programs, mentoring, advisors, tutoring, and career workshops—to support, retain, and graduate students. At IU South Bend, a partnership with the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County is helping to increase awareness about the 21st Century Scholars Program. The collaboration includes a coalition of 24 local school districts, colleges, universities, youth organizations, and economic development agencies that lend their expertise and resources to encourage and support scholars.

A recent $4 million grant from Lilly Endowment Grant is helping to amplify this work.

The university’s partnership with the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County is proving instrumental in elevating awareness about and participation in the 21st Century Scholars Program. Enrollment of 21st Century Scholars in St. Joseph County has grown by 65 percent in the past three years, from fewer than 500 eighth graders to more than 800 today.

I was nervous at first, but it really smoothed the transition to college for me. I was more comfortable in the fall when classes started.

Kevin Lopez