Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State named 21st Century Scholars ‘Champion Partner'

December 17, 2015

As part of the 25th anniversary of Indiana's 21st Century Scholars program, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education has recognized Indiana State University for its support of the initiative that helps low-income students complete a college degree.

Indiana State is among 10 organizations to receive the Champion Partners Award in recognition of their impact on the program.

Indiana State serves the largest number and the highest percentage of 21st Century Scholars on a singular campus, which provides full tuition scholarships for students who sign a pledge in grade 7 or 8 to avoid drugs, alcohol, and criminal activity and to maintain a 2.5 grade point average or higher on a 4.0 scale.

"We are very humbled to be recognized with the 21st Century Scholars Champion Award," said Josh Powers, associate vice president for student success at Indiana State. "So many at ISU have a deep commitment to our 21stScholars and recognize the importance of stewardship given how many such students we serve. It is a privilege to work with these students and help them to succeed. We constantly look for ways to improve what we do in support of their success."

Indiana State launched ScholarCorps in 2012 to build pride and aspirations to achieve among 21st Century Scholars. Today, it is among the university's most vibrant student organizations, with students highly engaged in leadership positions throughout campus and in the community, Powers said. As a result of the effort, retention of 21st Century Scholars has risen 2.5 percentage points faster than non-Scholar retention and the percentage of freshmen and sophomores staying on-track for on-time degree completion has doubled, he noted.

"The 21st Century Scholars program is a national model for providing students financial assistance to access higher education in combination with the support they need to be academically prepared and successful once they get there," said Theresa Lubbers, Indiana's higher education commissioner. "The legacy of this program truly is written in the lives of the students who worked hard to qualify for this scholarship and complete their degrees."

Many 21st Century Scholars are the first in their family to attend a college or university.

"It is gratifying to receive the Champion Award on behalf of all the faculty and staff who have assisted our 21st Century Scholars," said Jack Schroeder, 21st Century Scholars coordinator. "It is truly an ISU award that involves so many people."

In addition to Indiana State's Champion Award, ISU graduates Tonya Collier Hall of Terre Haute, Chantelle Hendry of Fort Wayne and Leroy Lewis III of Indianapolis, were among 25 individuals recognized as Outstanding Alumni of the 21st Century Scholars program.

Evan Bayh, former Indiana governor and U.S. senator, and Stan Jones, former state legislator and higher education commissioner, were recognized for their role in founding the program. As governor, Bayh made the scholarship a top legislative priority in 1990 and then-state Rep. Jones authored the bill that established the 21st Century Scholars program.

Photo: - Indiana State University 21st Century Scholars (from left) Tyler Pfaff and Katlyn Sherill and Sycamore Service Corps/AmeriCorps member Brandon Hoskins were on hand in Indianapolis Dec. 2, 2015 as Theresa Lubbers, Indiana's commissioner for higher education, presented Josh Powers, the university's associate vice president for student success, with a Scholar Partner Award. Also on hand were Jack Schroeder, 21st Century Scholars coordinator at Indiana State, and Mike Licari, the university's provost and vice president academic affairs.

Media contact: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or