January 23, 2020

Purdue Polytechnic High School Scholarship Fund to create path to Purdue degree

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A new scholarship for graduates of the Purdue Polytechnic High School in Indiana will put the dream of a Purdue college education within students’ reach.

Purdue University opened the first Purdue Polytechnic High School, a free, public charter school, in downtown Indianapolis in 2017 with a focus on STEM education for underrepresented minority students. A second Indianapolis location opened in Broad Ripple, on the city’s north side, in 2019, and a third location is planned for South Bend, Indiana. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The inaugural class of the downtown Indianapolis school, currently numbering 115 high school juniors, will graduate in the spring of 2021. For graduates who qualify for admission to Purdue’s West Lafayette campus — approximately one-third of the class — the Purdue Polytechnic High School Scholarship will help ensure that financial considerations won’t stand in their way.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said the new high schools were created specifically and intentionally to address the unacceptably small number of low-income, first-generation and minority students who leave Indiana high schools and Indianapolis Public Schools with the academic preparedness to succeed at Purdue. Only 12 minority students and 12 first-generation students from IPS are enrolled in Purdue’s current freshman class. And, for the 2019 10th grade ISTEP test, only 4 percent of low-income students and 4 percent of underrepresented minority students at IPS passed both portions. Statewide, 18 percent of low-income students and 17 percent of URM students passed both tests.

“Launching these schools with these goals is a truly daunting and uncertain undertaking,” he said, “but we have to attempt something out of the ordinary because the problem isn’t fixing itself.”

The new scholarship, supported through private giving, is available to students pursuing any major. Daniels, who along with his wife, Cheri, launched the scholarship fund with their own gift, added, “We see the tremendous gain in extending educational opportunity and accessibility for Indiana high school students and in increasing the pipeline of students seeking the gold standard of a Purdue education. What a shame it would be to go to the enormous effort involved in creating and operating these schools if students become qualified academically, but then were prevented by finances from becoming Boilermakers.”

Fundraising is underway for the Purdue Polytechnic High School Scholarship Fund.

“We are incredibly thankful for the creation of this fund,” said Scott Bess, head of school, Purdue Polytechnic High School. “This scholarship will enable highly qualified students who would otherwise face significant financial barriers to attend and succeed at Purdue University. The opportunity for a student to attend a rigorous university and focus on their success as a student rather than the financial burden they might otherwise face will be life-changing.”

To contribute to the Purdue Polytechnic High School Scholarship Fund, visit giving.purdue.edu/pphsgift.

Students interested in learning more about the Purdue Polytechnic High School Scholarship should speak with a PPHS college and career director.

Media contact: Lisa Tally, 765-494-2181, lhtally@prf.org

Source: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

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