FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana state lawmakers are making it easier for more Hoosiers to receive help paying for college. All eligible students will be automatically enrolled into the 21st Century Scholars program due to the passing of House Bill 1449.

It was signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb on May 4th. The 21st Century Scholars program is an initiative to help more Hoosier students achieve a higher education. It gives students a full scholarship to any public college in Indiana, and a partial scholarship to private colleges.

Before this bill was passed, families would have to apply for the program while students were in 7th or 8th grade. Now, the application is not needed. Alyssa Braman, a School Counselor at Homestead High School, said she believes this change will have a great effect on students and families.

“By reducing that barrier and having that one less step, it’s opening the door for students who meet certain academic requirements to have free college tuition in the state of Indiana and just more opportunity,” Braman said.

Although the application is waived, there are still requirements that students must maintain throughout high school. Students must earn a cumulative GPA of a 2.5 or higher, graduate with at least a Core 40 diploma, complete the scholar success program, and more.

Braman said it’s important for parents and students to know what these requirements are and to stay informed. She said there will need to be communication between the Indiana Commission of Higher Education and schools supporting students.

“It’s one thing that you’re in, but we need to aim for a certain academic standard,” Braman said, “We need to make sure that you’re earning that core 40 diploma, and knowing what that entails, and then also just helping them see the big picture of the value of this scholarship program.”

The automatic enrollment law takes effect July 1st.