Minority scholarship bill advanced by Rep. Donna J. Harris awaits governor’s final approval

March 10, 2016 Donna Harris

For immediate release:
March 10, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS — State Rep. Donna J. Harris (D-East Chicago) received overwhelming support in both the Indiana House and Senate for her legislation directed at providing financial assistance for minority students who intend to pursue education as a career.

The State Senate had made changes to House Bill 1179 (HB 1179), so House members dissented and the legislation moved to a conference committee for further discussion. Once conference committee members came to an agreement on the final version, House and Senate members voted to concur on the bill. It now goes to the governor for consideration.

Harris’s legislation expands a current scholarship fund to include a wider range of students.

“While the Minority Student Teaching Stipend Fund is already available for those who take part in student teaching, this bill will expand the current scholarship to include minority students who wish to take part in a school administration internship program,” said Harris. “The changes are expected to make a significant impact on these students, giving them the financial resources to pursue another important area of education.”

Qualified students could receive up to $5,000 if they have a grade point average of 3.5 to 4.0 and up to $4,000 for a GPA of 3.0 to 3.5.

“It is important we work to ensure that minorities are becoming involved in the educational process,” continued Harris. “The change to this scholarship would help guarantee that we are supporting those interested in the administration and operation of a school as well as assisting those who aspire to become teachers.”

Changes made by Senate members would rename the stipend after retiring State Senator Earline Rogers (D-Gary). Additional changes made by the Senate would allow a financial specialist, selected for the school corporation, to request a grant that would help ensure that one or more of the corporation’s buildings remain open for educational instruction. The added language also specifies how the grants will be paid and the amount the school corporation will receive.

“I am so pleased to see that so many of my colleagues acted in support of this bill and am certain that these changes will make a positive impact on Indiana’s minority students,” concluded Harris.