Middle-income families who have struggled to qualify for college financial aid will receive a major boost this fall thanks to a new scholarship being introduced by Vincennes University. The scholarship will offer a 15 percent reduction in tuition fees for students from middle-income families in Indiana.
According to VU officials, the new Middle-Income Hoosier Scholarship will provide needed financial assistance to underserved families and students in Indiana and reduce the debt-load of graduates. “For too long, middle-income families have not qualified for financial aid, and it is the goal of Vincennes University to reach out to middle-income Hoosiers and help bridge this gap, provide real savings for middle-income families and students, and attract a growing number of students to Indiana’s first college,” said VU President Dick Helton.
To qualify, Hoosier students cannot be eligible for any state or federal grant funds, must have an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000, be a full-time student, and maintain a grade-point average of 2.5. For qualifying students, VU’s Middle-Income Hoosier Scholarship will provide $250 per semester for two years, with an additional $250 refund provided to students who earn an associate degree in five semesters or fewer.
“The bottom line is that these students will receive up to a $1,250 tuition benefit which will go a long way considering that VU’s tuition is already the lowest among all Indiana residential campuses. VU is the perfect school for this initiative because it is a premier two-year college with a low fee structure that offers many financial opportunities for Indiana’s working families not currently offered in higher education,” according to Helton. Helton also added, “Once fully implemented, VU anticipates over 500 Hoosiers will take the opportunity to participate at a value that will exceed over $500,000 in tuition savings.”
It is no coincidence that the introduction of the new scholarship comes at a critical time for middle-income families. “We recognize that during the past decade middle-income households lost ground because their incomes were not growing due to cuts in work hours, frozen salaries, and layoffs. Combined with the decline in family assets, such as homes, middle-income families have, frankly, taken a beating. And there appears to be little relief in sight. We hope this new scholarship will provide a lifeline to many of these families who seek a better future for their children,” Helton said.
The introduction of the Middle-Income Hoosier Scholarship is part of a larger VU strategy to help Indiana increase the number of college graduates. “We support the Lumina Foundation’s Goal 2025 initiative that aims to increase the percentage of Americans with college degrees to 60 percent by the year 2025. We hope this new scholarship will attract students from families currently underserved in our current financial aid offerings,” Helton said.
According to the Georgetown University Center on Education, it is estimated that by 2018, 63 percent of U.S. jobs will require some form of postsecondary education or training. Today approximately 41 percent of adults have a college degree in America.
“In addition to financial benefits for Hoosier families and students, we believe that the Middle-Income Hoosier Scholarships will boost retention and graduation rates, motivate students to complete degrees in less time, and put graduates into the workforce more quickly, which will benefit the state and local communities. Also, by providing this opportunity to working Hoosier families, VU is accepting and supporting the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s strategic goals of affordability of college, accessibility to college, and increased degree production from our universities,” Helton said.
The introduction of the new scholarship program is a continuation of VU’s mission of expanding access to higher education. “We have long emphasized that Indiana’s first college puts families first. That is why we are proud of our new scholarship program. These scholarships provide another way that VU can demonstrate its commitment to help Hoosier families and students at a time when they need a helping hand,” Helton said.