By: BREANNA GALLEGOS
There have been many students wondering why the disbursement of the state’s 21st Century Scholarship and the Frank O’Bannon grants has been delayed. After talking to Cynthia Lang, associate director of financial aid and scholarships at IU South Bend, the answer is simple.
The system update for the state’s new changes caused the delay, which also lead to the delay of aid to IUSB. The state’s system updated because of the changes made within the 21st Century Scholarship. Starting this year, incoming freshman are now required to take 30 credit hours a school year. Indiana’s 15 to Finish program makes it possible for them to graduate within the four-year timeline. This change within the scholarship required the state to update their system.
An email from Mary Jane Michalak, associate commissioner of student financial aid with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, also sheds more light on the situation.
“To renew and remain eligible for the maximum student financial aid award, students receiving the Higher Education Award, the Freedom of Choice Award or the 21st Century Scholars Award must complete at least 30 credit hours each year,” Michalak wrote. “Students who complete at least 24 credit hours during their first year may still be eligible for state financial aid, but will receive an amount that is less than students who complete 30 credit hours.”
The issue at IUSB’s end appears to be clearing up.
“We believe to have received all the files we need and we will have remaining rewards posted as soon as possible,” Lang stated.
“The primary reason for the technology issues we experienced relates to changes made in the state financial aid system, which require institutions to report credit hour completion information for some students,” read an email, in part, which was sent to impacted students. “The renewal of state financial aid is contingent upon students completing a certain number of credits, and therefore, this information was critical to the creation of awards for those students. This is the first year these credit hour requirements are in place, and the computer programming associated with the change has been significant. Our delays impacted institutions, and ultimately, you.”
If 21st Century Scholars have any questions, contact Michelle Hairston at the Making the Academic Connection Office 574-520-4479. You can also contact student financial aid with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education directly at Awards@che.in.gov or by phone at 888-528-4719.