Ivy Tech program pairs scholarships with community service

Ivy Tech Community College students have put in nearly 20,000 hours of volunteer service in Shelby County, and helped cover the cost of their tuition.

According to the school, the students are taking part in a community scholarship program called Advantage Shelby County which provides scholarships, of which a requirement is 10 hours of community service for the semester.

The Advantage Shelby County program started in 2016 and almost a quarter of graduating high school seniors took advantage of the program. Since it started, participants have put in more than 19,700 hours and the program should pass 20,000 later this summer. This spring there were 40 students taking part in the program.

Students begin their service hours the summer prior to starting at Ivy Tech. They must complete 10 hours each fall and spring they are enrolled in school. Those earning an associates degree under the program will put in 50 hours of community service during their time at the school.

The program provides scholarship funding to qualified Shelby County students to pay tuition costs that are not covered by state, federal, or institutional aid. Advantage Shelby County is a collaboration between city and county governments and Ivy Tech Community College.

The goal is to increase educational attainment in the community. Since the start of the program, college attainment levels have increased by 10 percent, the school says.