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Raatz Roundup: Expanding Hoosier Higher Education Opportunities

Submitted for use on Feb. 15, 2023
Word Count: 342

Expanding Hoosier Higher Education Opportunities

By State Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond)

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) Indiana College Readiness Report 2022 found the state's college-going rate has gradually decreased from 65% to 53% since 2015. In addition, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) Statewide Parent Survey reported 72% of parents see post-high school education as available, but not affordable.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development, I have supported legislation that would help ensure eligible Hoosier students are aware of financial aid opportunities through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Indiana 21st Century Scholars Program.

In 2022, I voted in favor of Senate Enrolled Act 82, which increases awareness of the FAFSA by requiring high schools to share notices about the application with families. This session, I am supporting Senate Bill 167, which would require students to submit the FAFSA during their senior year of high school.

The survey also reported 64% of parents of middle school students are aware of the 21st Century Scholars Program, and among those parents, only 27% agree that higher education is affordable.

In response, I co-authored Senate Bill 435, which would require the CHE and IDOE to identify eligible students for automatic enrollment in the 21st Century Scholars Program during their seventh and eighth-grade year of school.

Indiana's 21st Century Scholars program is an early-college promise program designed to make college more affordable for students.

It is important for all students, even those who don't see higher education in their future, to be aware of and receive the financial aid available to them. I look forward to seeing these bills pass through the legislative process so more Hoosiers realize the real opportunities available to them through secondary schooling.

SB 167 and SB 435 passed the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development this week.

Committee hearings, legislative calendars, agendas, vote tallies and proposed legislation can be viewed online by visiting

Click here for more information about SB 167 and here for more information about SB 435.

If you have any questions or concerns on these or other topics, feel free to contact me at or 317-233-0930.


State Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond) represents Senate District 27, which includes

Henry, Union and Wayne counties, and portions of Franklin County.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.