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EARN Indiana employers must offer an internship that provides students with experiential learning, mentoring and networking opportunities. Employers may submit internships for consideration. If approved and filled with an EARN Indiana student, the State will pay up to 50 percent of the student's hourly wage.
As the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI) merged with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education on July 1, 2012, it was important to see how the State's current financial aid programs and policies align with the Commission's strategic plan, Reaching Higher, Achieving More. As part of this effort, Thomas P. Miller & Associates completed a study and report that contains recommendations for improving the state work-study program. The recommendations center on using the work study funding to promote experiential learning to help students cultivate career opportunities. According to the study, nearly four in five employers expect college students to have obtained some real-world experience before entering the job market. For more than half of students that pursue such real-world experience, the internship results in a full-time job offer with the same company. According to the report,
"Now is the time for Indiana to lead this change into experience based learning, while driving linkages from these learning experiences into career opportunities within Indiana’s economy. The Commission for Higher Education is uniquely poised to be a catalyst for defining and identifying experiential opportunities and the proper approach to recognize and incentivize them.”
The report also recommends improving the recruitment efforts of students and employers to maximize the benefit of the program. Specifically, it suggests that for-profit companies—currently excluded from participation—be able to participate and that student eligibility not be restricted to those that used a financial aid award from the State. The report also proposes use of internet-matching technology to help students find relevant positions and help employers find available and qualified students. After careful evaluation, the Commission has decided to pursue many of these suggestions.