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Tomika Ferguson
21st Century Scholars Covenant Program

Last modified: Monday, May 2, 2011

IU Bloomington's first class of 21st Century Scholarship Covenant students poised to graduate

May 2, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's first class of 21st Century Scholarship Covenant students, who enrolled at IU as freshmen in 2007, will graduate this week.

The program was the first of its kind in Indiana and is a key part of IU's mission to make a college education accessible to every state resident.

"The 21st Century Scholars Covenant program is an integral part of Indiana University Bloomington's commitment to providing access to an outstanding education for qualified Hoosier students," said Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson. "All of us on the Bloomington campus are proud of the accomplishments of the members of this first cohort of the program. We wish them continued success."

21st Century Scholars

Ricardo Munoz (left) talks with a potential Indiana University student at the Indianapolis Scholars Reception hosted by the Office of Scholarships.

Print-Quality Photo

"We are delighted to have 105 students participate in the first graduating class of the IU 21st Century Scholars Covenant," said David Johnson, IU's vice provost for enrollment management. "Since 2007, Indiana University has been augmenting the state's 21st Century Scholars Program with the IU 21st Century Scholars Covenant, which works to provide the remaining funding needed for recipients to meet the full cost of attending IU. It is a proud moment for these graduating students, their families and IU."

The first class of 21st Century Scholarship Covenant students will graduate this spring and summer, with majors that include studio art, business management, theater and drama, communication and culture, marketing, journalism, geology, elementary education, sociology, sports communication, outdoor recreation and resource management, human development/family studies, and speech and language pathology. Some will enter the job market, while others plan to attend law school or other graduate programs.

"It is exciting to be celebrating the first graduating class of 21st Century Scholars with the Covenant," said Sarah Booher, director of scholarships at IU. "This extraordinary program has made the dream of attending IU a reality for hundreds of Indiana residents, and our graduates have accomplished their ultimate goal of earning an IU degree thanks to the financial support they have received."

The Office of Enrollment Management and the 21st Century Scholars Office will host a 21st Century Scholarship Covenant Graduation reception tomorrow (May 3) at 6:30 p.m. in the Frangipani Room of the Indiana Memorial Union.

Chris Enstrom, director of the 21st Century Scholars Office, will participate in the event along with Hanson, Johnson and Booher. Ashley Nichols, a senior from Russellville, Ind., who will graduate as a 21st Century Scholarship Covenant student with majors in journalism and Spanish, will be the featured student speaker.

"Receiving the 21st Century Scholarship Covenant has meant a number of things to me," said Brent Wells, who graduates this month with a degree in outdoor recreation and resource management. "It has opened doors that would have never been possible; it has been a reward for making the right decisions and it has been my foundation for success since eighth grade."

Students who enter the 21st Century Scholars Program in junior high school make a pledge to graduate from high school with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0; to not use illegal drugs or alcohol or commit a crime, to apply for admission to an eligible Indiana college or proprietary school as a senior; and to apply on time for state and federal financial aid.

IU Bloomington began offering the Covenant award to eligible 21st Century Scholars who demonstrated financial need four years ago. The purpose of the Covenant is to help students graduate with a bachelor's degree -- and as little debt as possible -- through the provision of grant aid. The 21st Century Scholarship is funded by the state of Indiana and covers tuition and fees, while the Covenant provides funding to cover the full cost of attendance including books, room and board.

Elizabeth Martindale, who graduates with a degree in management and technology management, and Jennifer Waltz, who just completed her elementary education degree at IU, are grateful to graduate from college almost completely debt free. William Jones, a sports communication major, said he will be forever appreciate the "amazing and incredible opportunity" that allowed him to attend IU without worrying about his financial status.

"I don't have the stresses of loans haunting my future, so I am able to focus more on my academic career," said Crystal Hout, who graduates next week with a geology degree. Without the Covenant, she said, college would have been more stressful and less enjoyable. "Due to this scholarship, I haven't had to hold down three jobs to help pay my way through school. This extra time has given me the opportunity to get involved in my department and school through clubs, academic societies and committees. This scholarship has given me an edge."

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