Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

January 6, 2014

TERESA LUBBERS: Confronting Indiana's college readiness challenge

K-12, higher ed systems must better collaborate in preparing students.

(Continued)

We’re confronting Indiana’s college-readiness challenge with a sense of urgency on multiple fronts to ensure Hoosier students and families have the guidance and support they need to plan, prepare and pay for college. Through the Commission’s Learn More Indiana outreach initiative (LearnMoreIndiana.org), we’re engaging students and families with compelling communications campaigns that drive home the message about what it takes to be college-ready. We’re bringing together community leaders who are committed to increasing college completion through our county College Success Coalitions. And, we’re providing more consistent support than ever before to low-income and other at-risk students who need it the most.

This fall, 21st Century Scholars — students enrolled in the state’s early promise scholarship program for income-eligible Hoosiers — have a new and clear set of required activities they need to complete each year to earn their scholarship and to stay on track for college success. Though only required for 21st Century Scholars, we believe the new Scholar Success Program will benefit Hoosier students as a whole, and we’re encouraging schools and communities to adopt these expectations for all their students. 

Through closer collaboration with our colleges and universities, we’re also doing more to connect students with on-campus programs and services that will help them form a community of support and stay on the path to graduation. And, in partnership with Indiana lawmakers, we are providing clear degree maps for every Indiana college student and creating new financial aid incentives that reward students for completing college on time.

We undoubtedly have a long way to go in addressing Indiana’s college-readiness and completion challenges, but the conditions are set, the need is clear and the commitment is in place to make lasting and meaningful progress for our students and our state.

Teresa Lubbers heads the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

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