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Indiana high school students can complete credentials & certificates for free this summer

Last Updated on March 8, 2022 by Indiana Department of Education

INDIANAPOLIS — For the second consecutive summer, thousands of Indiana high school students will have the opportunity to accelerate the completion of a high-quality credential, including the Indiana College Core, an associate degree, or a career and technical education (CTE) certificate, for free through Crossing the Finish Line. The initiative is a partnership between the Indiana Department of Education, the Commission for Higher Education, the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University.

“We know that educational attainment has a far-reaching impact on a student’s future – including on their health, living wage, employment and sustained earning,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Through the Crossing the Finish Line initiative, thousands of high school students across Indiana will have an opportunity to complete a high-value credential or industry certification for free this summer. One summer’s worth of work – combined with previous dual credit, dual enrollment, or advanced placement courses – can have a lifetime of impact for our students by increasing their educational attainment.” 

The Crossing the Finish Line initiative is available this summer to any high school student who is just a few classes away from completing a postsecondary certificate or a high-demand credential. This may include the Indiana College Core, a 30-credit hour block of general education college-level courses, or a postsecondary CTE certificate through a program of study.

In 2021, Crossing the Finish Line helped nearly 1,900 high school students from over 275 high schools complete a credential or a certificate – saving those students and their families over $1.4 million in tuition, fees, books and other education expenses.

Tuition, fees, books, as well as the cost of obtaining transcripts and any required College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests will be covered at Ivy Tech or Vincennes for all students participating in Crossing the Finish Line.

“This partnership provides opportunities for high school students to earn credentials for free and get a head start on completing their desired postsecondary path, saving them time and money,” said Teresa Lubbers, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education. “Not only is this program beneficial for students and families, but for the state as we continue our work to have at least 60 percent of Hoosiers with a quality degree or credential beyond high school.”

“Building off the success of last year’s initiative, we are excited to open up Crossing the Finish Line to thousands of eligible CTE students this summer,” said Anthony Harl, state CTE director with the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet. “This initiative complements our work through Next Level Programs of Study, ensuring students in CTE programs have opportunities to earn valuable credentials and certificates while in high school.”

School counselors will be provided with a list of eligible students this week so that they can help empower students and families through this process. Additionally, eligible students will be contacted directly by either Ivy Tech or Vincennes via email and postcard, alerting them of their eligibility. From there, the institutions will work one-on-one with students to help them in obtaining transcripts and identifying courses needed to earn their respective credentials.

“The Crossing the Finish Line initiative is a perfect example of the power of partnership. By linking arms, state agencies and higher education are advancing post-secondary outcomes for Indiana’s youth,” said Dr. Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech Community College. “Whether students intend to transfer 30 credit hours of general education coursework through completion of the Indiana College Core or plan to obtain an industry-recognized workforce credential, Ivy Tech stands ready to serve.”

“Vincennes University is proud to join this important and timely effort to help Hoosier students and families reach important milestones in their educational journey,” said Dr. Chuck Johnson, president of Vincennes University. “VU is committed to making additional courses and seats available to students who take advantage of this great opportunity and we will work hard to assist them with taking the next steps in their education and careers.”

More information about Crossing the Finish Line is available here

SOURCE: News release from Indiana Department of Education