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Lisa Denlinger
IU Continuing Studies

Last modified: Wednesday, February 18, 2004

IU High School student excels from a distance

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Eighteen-year-old Mark Popham of Louisville, Ky., has become the first Indiana University High School student selected as a finalist in the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program.

Popham, one of the more than 885 active IUHS students, is one of 15,000 Merit Scholarship finalists nationwide. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will begin notifying approximately 8,000 finalists in March of their Merit Scholarship awards.

"We are thrilled for Mark and proud of Indiana University High School," said Judy Wertheim, interim dean of the School of Continuing Studies, home of the high school diploma program. "Among the criteria NMSC scholarship selectors review is information about the student's school. Mark's contention for a National Merit Scholarship attests to the caliber of Indiana University High School and its students."

Students throughout the United States and in several countries are pursuing their high school diplomas through IUHS, which is accredited by the North Central Association, the same organization that accredits the university. Students select from more than 100 distance education courses offered through IU's award-winning Independent Study Program. The courses are offered in traditional correspondence as well as on-line formats, and are based on the approved curriculum for Indiana schools.

Indiana University High School was established in 1999. It appeals to a wide range of students, including performing arts students who need more flexible schedules, home-schooled students, students who merely want the challenge of IUHS's rigorous courses, and students who are homebound and cannot attend traditional schools. Each student has an academic adviser. They also have one-on-one contact with their instructors, who are certified teachers. The program costs $120 per one-credit course, in addition to learning materials and related fees.

Established in 1955, the National Merit Scholarship Program requires students to compete at several stages. Candidates enter the competition by taking a Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Semifinalists are selected from among the highest-scoring entrants in each state and represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors. To become finalists, semifinalists must have a record of very high academic performance, be endorsed and recommended by their school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test performance.

For more information about Indiana University High School, visit or call 800-334-1011.