Students speak on Indiana higher education bills

Indiana state capitol building in downtown Indianapolis.

Image from Wikimedia commons

Indiana state capitol building in downtown Indianapolis.

Rhonda Wheeler and Nik Cunningham

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The Indiana General Assembly is in session and some bills could affect students and universities across the state.

There are 21 bills regarding higher education for colleges and universities. These all are still in their first reading and being referred to committees.

Senate Bill 175 proposes that each college and university provide a comprehensive policy about sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking. Universities would also be required to create a concise notice written in “plain language,” regarding the rights and the options of students who fall victim to any of these.

“A lot of people, once they start reading it, they skim over it or they don’t read it fully, so they really don’t know and even if they do try to read it fully, some of the language can get confusing if you’re not familiar with it,” junior public relations major Molly May said.

House Bill 1026 would require mandatory fees to be established at colleges that cannot be raised or lowered for undergrad students who live in Indiana.

“People’s plan when they’re a freshman, and then when things go up, the plans kind of get deterred, so I think that would be good,” Mayo said. 

Senate Bill 287 would establish a new scholarship for minority students who are pursuing careers in health services. This would include an initial scholarship and the qualification requirements for renewal of the scholarship.

“If they are international students they struggle with the language and can take a long time due to their program,” junior health services major Yoshie Yanagisawa said. “If they get a scholarship that would be helpful and they can search for internships or opportunities to get a job.”

House Bill 1287 requires each college and university to give students a student ID card that can be used as a valid form of identification in Indiana.

The SGA General Assembly discussed at their meeting Jan. 16 going to USI administrators and asking to print expiration dates on student ID’s so they could be used as an acceptable form of ID for voting.

“We support the bill but we will also work with our own administration to try and get it done here regardless of whether the bill will be passed,” SGA President Kelsey McCullough said.

House Bill 1340 will create requirements that help make payment plans to pay back student loans and will help create requirements for repayment assistance. This bill, if passed, would take action in 2023.

“It’s going to be a good thing, not necessarily for me, but the people who come after me,” sophomore engineering major Kenneth Furness said.