April 5, 2023

Indiana’s Commissioner for Higher Education highlights post-secondary enrollment and completion in annual address

Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Chris Lowery at the Statehouse Tuesday.

Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Chris Lowery at the Statehouse Tuesday.

Indiana’s Commissioner for Higher Education delivered the State of Higher Education address Tuesday.

Commissioner Chris Lowery focused on post-secondary enrollment and completion, and the benefits of a better trained workforce.

“Whether it is a certificate, a two-year or four-year degree can be transformational,” Lowery said. “It is the cornerstone of economic vitality, individual social mobility and civil society.”

Lowery also underlined the importance of retaining graduating students in Indiana.

“For Hoosier employers, educational attainment is the solution to developing a strong, future- oriented talent pipeline and remaining competitive in our global environment,” he said.

He also highlighted legislation that would require high schoolers to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and a bill aimed at auto-enrolling eligible students in the 21st Century Scholars Program, which can cover tuition up to 100 percent for Indiana students who attend public schools.

Just over half of Indiana high school graduates pursue education beyond high school. In the 21st Century Scholars program, 81 percent of students enroll in college, compared to the statewide average of 53 percent.

Lowery also said he wants to prioritize post-secondary education for veterans and people with disabilities, and establish Indiana as the “recognized state” for starting a business.

“I believe we should aspire to be a leader in education and training beyond high school,” he said. “I believe Indiana can be a top 10 state in human capital development.”

Contact WFYI economic equity reporter Sydney Dauphinais at sdauphinais@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @syddauphinais.

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