Becoming a Scholar

This section of the website contains information, resources, and guidelines for 7th or 8th grade students who are interested in becoming Twenty-first Century Scholars. Parents, guidance counselors, and teachers who work with potential Twenty-first Century Scholars may find this information useful as well.

Please note, this is the website of the IU Bloomington Twenty-first Century Scholars Office, and is only meant to supplement information provided by the state Twenty-first Century Scholars program at

Program Overview

The Twenty-first Century Scholars Program was created to help low and middle-income Indiana families meet the ever-increasing cost of a college education. To be eligible for the program, a student must be in the 7th or 8th grade and enrolled in an Indiana charter school, freeway school, or other Indiana school recognized by the Indiana Department of Education. (Home schooled students are not eligible for the program.)

In addition, a student must meet household income guidelines identical to the federal free and reduced lunch program. Students who meet this criteria take a pledge to graduate from an accredited Indiana High School, meet specific GPA requirements, stay away from illegal drugs and alcohol, remain crime free, apply for admissions to an Indiana University or college, and meet certain financial aid application deadlines. Students who enroll in the program, honor the pledge, and meet all all program requirements can receive up to eight semesters of tuition assistance at an eligible Indiana College or proprietary school. One hundred percent of tuition will be covered at an in-state public institution. For students who attend a private or an independent institution, the state will award an amount comparable to that of a public institution. If you attend a participating proprietary (private career) school, the state will award a tuition scholarship equal to that of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.

How to Apply

Eligible students can apply during their 7th or 8th grade year of junior high. Paper applications will be made available through their school’s guidance office or through their Regional Twenty-first Century Scholar Office. Students and their parents/guardians can also apply online by going to the Twenty-first Century Scholar Program website at and clicking on the “apply online” button near the bottom left hand side of the page. Typically, the application period runs from the last week of August until June 30th of each school year. Students who are not eligible during their 7th grade year can reapply during their 8th grade year. The last day for students to submit an application for the program is June 30 following the completion of their 8th grade year. High school students are not eligible for the program with the exception of students in the foster care system.

Currently, there are fourteen Twenty-first Century Scholar Regional Support Sites that are charged with recruiting eligible 7th and 8th grade students into the program, and meeting with them in high school to help keep them on track for college. For more information about application procedures, please contact your regional site.

What Is the Scholarship Worth?

Students who enroll successfully in the Twenty-first Century Scholars Program and honor their pledge can receive up to four years of college tuition at any participating public college or university in Indiana. Currently, tuition and fees for the fall 2014 and spring 2015 term at the Bloomington Campus of Indiana University are $10,388.

In addition, many participating colleges and universities offer special incentives for Twenty-first Century Scholars who attend their institution. These incentives can range from additional grant money to help cover educational expenses outside tuition (such as books and room and board expenses) to application and housing fee waivers. The 21st Century Scholarship Covenant program at IU Bloomington, will pay for books, room & board and other expenses for eligible Twenty-first Century Scholars who show financial need.

Many colleges and universities also have offices and programming to support Twenty-first Century Scholars once they are on campus. For a PDF list of Twenty-first Century Scholar incentives and programs, which was compiled by the state Twenty-first Century Scholars Office, click here.