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This Story is provided by The Herald Times

Governor’s proposal would pay for two years of college

By James Boyd 331-4307 |
April 20, 2008

Gov. Mitch Daniels wants to guarantee some Indiana students the chance to pursue higher education by offering them $6,000 over two years to help them work toward a college degree.

The idea, which is in its developmental phase, would ensure Hoosier students could obtain at least two years of paid education at one of the state’s Ivy Tech Community College branches, or they could apply the aid to any other college or university in Indiana.

Money would be guaranteed to families who earn less than $54,000 annually, the state’s median income.

How the state will come up with that money remains unseen, though for Daniels, the ideal scenario could entail the privatization of the state’s lottery system.

Daniels introduced the idea this past week at a higher education conference at IUPUI.

“We must elevate quickly the number of our young people who pursue education beyond high school,” Daniels told university presidents, trustees, and faculty members. “I believe that if we can address the affordability issue, if we can say to every Indiana high school kid that if you graduate from high school, we will provide you the wherewithal to go to our community college, or it’s your choice and your family’s choice to have that as a head start on any other school.”

The $6,000 would pay for two years of study at any Ivy Tech location, or could be used toward any other Indiana school, public or private.

At IU-Bloomington, the aid would amount to almost half of the annual tuition cost for an in-state student. This year, tuition was $7,837 for an Indiana resident.

But with IU’s Matching the Promise campaign, students in lower-income families are already paying a deeply discounted sticker price.

This past fall, students from about 1,000 families with annual incomes of less than $50,000 paid an average price of $341. And that included room and board.

Daniels’ idea to privatize the lottery died last year, but he said he may bring it back to the table.

It could generate between $1 billion and $2 billion annually if adopted, according to figures from the governor’s office.

Jane Jankowski, Daniels’ spokeswoman, said the governor wants to hear input from higher education officials.

“He wants to get more input to sort of flesh out the idea and then move it forward,” Jankowski said. “His thought process is to have legislation ready to go (next January) to be introduced then.”

She said the funding source will have to be identified, but it may not come from privatizing the lottery.

“The assignment we have is to sort of explore our revenue options,” she said.

“It may be that we have some other programs in state government that are underachieving, and we might be able to utilize funding there. It’s something we’ll be looking at.”