By Sarah Ramon
INDIANAPOLIS – More than 600 hopeful Hoosier students will compete for one of 200 scholarships that would provide up to $7,500 annually to those who agree to teach in the state for at least five years after graduation.
“Today’s news is promising as it reflects the interest and excitement of those students looking for a rewarding career in education,” House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said in a statement. “This also marks a great first step toward our goal of having more of our top-performing students teach in Hoosier classrooms.”
Bosma crafted the legislation last year providing for the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship, which will be administered by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.
The $7,500 annual scholarship would cover about one-third of the cost of an education in a public college in Indiana beginning in the 2017-18 academic year. The median cost in a public college in Indiana is $21,000 per year.
A total of 643 students, two-thirds of whom are high-school aged, applied for the scholarship. Applicants represent 273 high schools in 84 of the state’s counties.
In order to qualify, applicants must either graduate from an Indiana accredited high school or non-accredited nonpublic school, such as a private school, in the top 20 percent of their high school class or earn a score in the top 20th percentile on the SAT or ACT.
Scholarship recipients must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA and complete at least 30 credit hours each year at an approved Indiana college. After graduation, the student must teach at an eligible Indiana school for at least five consecutive years.
In 2016, roughly 14,000 resident undergraduate students enrolled in education-related majors at Indiana public colleges.
“We’re encouraged by the overwhelming positive response from aspiring teachers who want to make a difference in Indiana classrooms,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said in a statement. “The Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship creates an important opportunity to bring more of our best and brightest students into the teaching profession.”
The 200 scholarship recipients will be selected through a competitive process based on the student’s academic achievement, teacher nomination and in-person interview. The commission will review the applications and notify finalists by Jan. 31.
Throughout the month of March, finalists will be interviewed at eight regional sites across the state. The commission will partner with local community, business and education leaders in each region to host the interview sessions. Scholarship winners will be notified by April 15.
Sarah Ramon is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.