The Indiana Commission for Higher Education announced today that several bills related to higher education were successful in this year’s legislative session, including many aligned to the Commission’s goals.
“The legislature sustained a strong commitment to performance funding for institutions and financial aid for both recent high school graduates and returning adults,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “The policies enacted during this legislative session also align with the Commission’s efforts to smooth the transitions from high school to college, including providing funding for a math transition course, requiring FAFSA data sharing agreements and re-establishing the Dual Credit Advisory Council.”
The following key higher education policies have been signed into law or await the Governor’s signature:
Scholarships and Grant Programs
- Workforce Ready Grant Funding (HEA 1001): The General Assembly maintains its commitment to Gov. Holcomb’s Next Level Jobs initiative, providing $8 million over the biennium to support the Workforce Ready Grant, which helps adults earn high value certificates tuition free.
- Workforce Ready Grant Expansion (HEA 1002): This bill allows providers other than Ivy Tech and Vincennes University to offer certificate programs through the Workforce Ready Grant.
- EARN Indiana Expansion (HEA 1629): The state’s EARN Indiana Program, which provides funding to encourage more internships for students with financial need, will expand to allow high school students to participate beginning with the 2023 cohort.
- Teacher Residency Grant Pilot Program (HEA 1003): The Commission will administer this pilot program, which will award grants to school corporations and charter schools that partner with approved postsecondary institutions to establish teacher residency programs.
- Veteran Spouse and Dependent Tuition (SEA 216): This bill provides resident tuition for the spouses and dependents of veterans who relocate to Indiana.
Preparing and Paying for College
- FAFSA Notification (HEA 1629): This bill requires high schools to notify all senior students about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), beginning with the 2020-21 academic year. The Commission must prepare a model FAFSA notification that high schools may use.
- FAFSA Data Share Agreements (HEA 1245): This bill requires high schools or school corporations to enter into a FAFSA data share agreement with the Commission. These agreements will provide better information about FAFSA completion at the local level and help inform student supports and outreach.
- Dual Credit Advisory Council (SEA 438): This bill calls upon the Commission to re-establish the Dual Credit Advisory Council, which must submit a report to the Legislative Council with recommendations on how to ensure dual credit teachers meet accreditation requirements by July 1, 2022.
- Math Transitions Course (HEA 1001): To support students transitioning from high school to postsecondary education, the legislature provided $600,000 to pilot a new Math Transitions course for high school seniors—a key recommendation outlined in the Postsecondary Transitions Recommendations advanced by the Commission and the State Board of Education.
Other Bills Involving Higher Education
- Let Indiana Work For You (HEA 1002): This bill requires the Commission, along with the Department of Workforce Development and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, to provide colleges and universities information about workforce opportunities and the benefits of living in Indiana after graduation.
- School Accountability Panel (HEA 1002): A new 15-member panel, including an appointment from the Commission, will study aligning school accountability with graduation pathway requirements. The panel will also recommend new indicators, which may include postsecondary preparation and outcomes.
Once signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb, all of these laws will be effective July 1, 2019.