Purdue receives inaugural 21st Century Scholars award

November 30, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The state's higher education commission will honor Purdue University for its work in helping 21st Century Scholars students.  

Representatives from Student Success at Purdue and Purdue Promise, which supports 21st Century Scholars, will be on hand Wednesday (Dec. 2) at Indiana Commission for Higher Education's first Student Advocates Conference in Indianapolis to accept the Champion Award from the 21st Century Scholars program. The event, at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, marks the inaugural year for the award and the 25th anniversary of the program.

"Purdue has made a significant commitment to the success of these students. To me, the recognition from the state is an acknowledgement of that unwavering commitment," said Dan Carpenter, director of Student Success.

The 21st Century Scholars program offers income-eligible in-state students up to four years of paid tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university after they graduate from high school.

Purdue's nomination for the honor included a letter of support from Purdue University President Mitch Daniels and former Purdue Promise student Mackenze Miller.

"I could go on and on about the support that Purdue Promise offers … from the holistic support model to the individual care students receive to the tedious work the staff all put in behind the scenes," Miller said.

Student Success, a division of the Office of the Provost, provides nationally recognized and student-centered pre-college preparation and college success initiatives and services.

As part of Student Success, Purdue Promise helps students in the 21st Century Scholars program and others by providing an individualized support network for each participant from enrollment through graduation. The four-year program includes financial assistance and targeted support rooted in four principles: academic, social, leadership and life skills development.

Michelle Ashcraft, senior assistant director and coordinator of Purdue Promise, says Purdue Promise is highly committed to the program.

“There's just not anyone else out there doing what Purdue is doing for these students,” she said. “We're pretty ahead of the game. But it's never something I would expect us to be recognized for.”

Purdue Promise was created in 2009, building on the original Purdue Opportunity Awards program. Ashcraft says Purdue Promise is serving more than 1,000 21st Century Scholars this semester.

Each Purdue Promise staff member works as a coach for a caseload 150 students and meets with them two to eight times per semester to offer guidance.

"Everyone is busy across campus," Ashcraft said. "We try to get to know what issues our students are facing and help them as best we can and call upon our campus partners when needed."

Carpenter calls the university's work with 21st Century scholars a collaborative effort.

"There are numerous campus partners: academic advisors, key people in the Division of Financial Aid and the Registrar's Office," he said. "There are people all over campus who have a hand in this. There is a clear institutional commitment at Purdue." 

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu 

Sources: Dan Carpenter, 765-494-2451, dwcarpen@purdue.edu 

Michelle Ashcraft, 764-494-6357, mashcraf@purdue.edu 

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