Wednesday, September 19, 2012

97…23…31…HIKE!


You know what I love?  DATA!  And, it’s a good thing because my head is so full of data today that it feels like a clown car.  You remember the famous circus routine.  It involves an implausibly large number of clowns emerging from a very small car, to humorous effect, of course.  But, the data I learned today wasn’t funny.  In fact, it’s rather serious.  And, I cannot wait to disseminate that information to the Foundation team and our donors.  Why?  Because what I learned today will help our students (a) get to college, (b) earn a degree, and (c) graduate with as little debt as possible.   That’s a tall order for sure.  But, everything worth it usually is.

Since my brain is essentially about to explode, I’ll share an appetizer of information with you today and follow it up with a few other courses as the year progresses.  If you have a child, know a student, or have met anyone that would love to go back to school or finish a degree, no matter what age, pay close attention to our Foundation blogs about Scholarships.  Like them, forward them, share them.  After all, knowledge is power.

A few morsels of knowledge about college:

First, through our support of Project Leadership, Grant County has managed to enroll a mind-blowing 97% of our eligible students into Indiana’s 21st Century Scholar’s Program.  This specific scholarship provides 4-years of tuition to any Indiana public college.   That, my friends, will pay for half of our local high school students to go to college tuition-free.
Second, only 23% of Indiana public college students earn an associate or bachelor’s degree on time, meaning in 2 or 4 year’s respectively.   But, why is that such a big deal?  At least they finish, right? True.  However, if 23% are graduating on time, then 77% are not.  And that 77% is on their way to incurring 1-2 years of additional debt. 
And, finally, 32%.  This percentage reflects the 885,000 Indiana workers who went to college, but never finished.  So close, yet so far.  Some may be just a year, or even a class, away from that diploma, yet for whatever reason, didn’t seal the deal.   

What our task will be at the Foundation is to figure out how to help our 21st Century scholars cover costs outside of tuition, how to invest in all scholars to encourage more on-time graduation rates, and how to provide scholarship support to both traditional and non-traditional students. 

We’ll get by with a little help from our friends at the National Center for College Costs located at www.indianacollegecosts.org.   Until we blog again, check out this treasure trove of resources for everything you ever wanted to know, but were afraid to ask, about funding a college education. 

Never doubt that an affordable college degree can be in your future.  After all, stranger things have happened.   I mean, Peyton Manning is wearing an orange uniform now, right?  
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