Fleming encourages youth to be aware of college funding options

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville) would like to encourage students of any age and their families to consider secondary education funding alternatives to student loans sooner, rather than later.

“Too many times, students miss out on opportunities to receive money for their secondary schooling simply because they don’t know what their options are,” said Fleming. “Or, in cases like the 21st Century Scholars Program, they find out too late. I want to ensure that every student has the chance to get a better education, if that’s their goal.

“In the case of my family, my late husband was a middle school counselor and we had three children when I started med school. But we paid cash for school (no loans!) by living on a tight budget. I worked Saturday nights in a hospital to make ends meet.

“Right now, we seem to have the idea that student loans are a requirement to go to college, instead of the truth, which is that they are optional and totally avoidable. There are numerous organizations, like your local Rotary and Optimist Clubs, that offer scholarships, which can save a student and their family thousands of dollars.”

For students in low-income households or those who would like to pursue work that requires special training, like nursing or skilled trades, there are several resources available:

  • Mike Rowe, the host of reality TV show Dirty Jobs, started a scholarship and job board for those looking into a skilled trade field like HVAC or carpentry. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is March 31. For more information, visit their website.
  • 21st Century Scholars is a program that provides income-eligible students up to four years of undergraduate tuition. However, to ensure the student’s eligibility, applications must be submitted while they are still in middle school. For more information, visit their website or call 1-888-528-4719.
  • Some area hospitals like the Norton Healthcare Pavilion in Louisville and Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville offer tuition assistance if a student is training to become a nurse. For more information, visit their website or call (765) 660-6000.

For even more information about other forms of financial aid and options for higher education, you can access the Indiana House Democrats’ Higher Education Guide here.

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