Jeffersonville’s Promise Will Stand…For Now

Bill challenging the Ivy Tech scholarship program fails to move to the full Senate for a vote

Jeffersonville’s Promise, a program that gives qualifying Jeffersonville High School graduates a full tuition scholarship to Ivy Tech Community College, has survived legislation intended to strike down the program. According to the News and Tribune, the bill failed to move from committee to the full Senate for a vote this week, so there is not enough time to pass the bill before the end of the session.

The city of Jeffersonville announced the program in November 2018. The city pledged that 150,000 dollars of Tax Increment Funds (TIF) for the next five years would fund Jeffersonville’s Promise. This is the first partnership of its kind in the state of Indiana.

However, the program has had its fair share of battles. In February, New Albany representative Ed Clere and co-sponsors proposed a new bill in the Indiana House that would have changed the spending of the TIF funds, which would directly affect the core of the new program. At that time, many expressed concern that the program would be eliminated.

Jeffersonville High School principal Julie Straight said that during that time of uncertainty, she had many students and parents reach out to her, some of them even in tears.

“Some had not made applications for housing or to some other schools once Jeff’s Promise was presented,” Straight said. “Because they made their decision. They were going to use that for their beginning college education. (They were) very upset that they’ve missed deadlines and they’ve missed out on opportunities that they would need.” Straight added that she heard of some students “really upset that…maybe they wouldn’t be able to go to college.”

Senior Amber Rowe, who plans to attend Ivy Tech before transfering to a four-year program, was relieved when the bill failed to pass. “If they had dropped the program, it would drop the rate of people who can afford college.”

Sophomore Mollie Davis agreed, stating that “Jeffersonville’s Promise would greatly help my peers who maybe couldn’t afford college on their own. It gives them a chance at a great future and an opportunity to make their own impact on the community.

To qualify for the scholarship, students must fit the following criteria:

  • Jeffersonville High School graduate from the Class of 2019 and those classes thereafter.
  • Students who have earned a minimum of a 2.0 high school GPA and maintain a 2.5 GPA while enrolled while enrolled at Ivy Tech.
  • Students who have completed the FAFSA.
  • Enrolled in credit-bearing and workforce-focused courses towards attainment of a certificate, certification or degree at Ivy Tech.
  • Students must enroll at Ivy Tech during the Summer, Fall or Spring term after their commencement from high school starting in Fall 2019.

Although the partnership has come with some controversy and criticism, Jeffersonville’s Promise will help the student body and open many opportunities that weren’t there before.

By Sophie Rousseau and Greta Reel

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