Around the House

Give the Gift of Higher Education

Looking for a last-minute gift for the holidays? Investing in a child’s future has never been easier.

Indiana’s CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan helps families save for college expenses. These plans make it easy to start saving for higher education early with flexible investment options, a generous state tax incentive for contributions to a savings account, an affordable minimum contribution amount of $10, and easy ways for families and friends to contribute.

Accounts grow tax-free as long as the money is withdrawn to pay for qualified education expenses like books, tuition, room and board, computers, and other fees. Account beneficiaries may use their savings at any college or university that accepts federal financial aid, not just Indiana institutions.

Thanks to Indiana’s CollegeChoice 529 Plans, more than $4.5 billion has been invested in more than 350,000 accounts, helping make higher education more accessible for young Hoosiers.

To learn more or to open a CollegeChoice 529 account, click here.


Scholarships available to future engineers

The Indiana Department of Transportation is offering a number of scholarships and paid positions to civil engineering students for the 2019-2020 school year.

The scholarship program offers $3,125 per semester or $2,083 per trimester for up to five years of post-secondary civil engineering education, which can be used on educational expenses, fees and books. Recipients will work in full-time, paid positions with INDOT during summer breaks and upon graduation.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be accepted or enrolled in one of Indiana’s certified civil engineering schools, which include Purdue University Fort Wayne, Purdue University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Trine University, University of Evansville, University of Notre Dame, University of Southern Indiana and Valparaiso University.

Click here to learn more and apply. Applications are due by Monday, Dec. 31.

Students Invited to Pitch Ideas for Competition

Applications for the 2019 Innovate WithIN pitch competition are now open to high school students across Indiana.

Innovate WithIN gives Hoosier students the opportunity to create their own business plans and showcase entrepreneurial ideas. Participants are invited to work individually or in small groups to submit an innovative idea for a business, product, service or venture. Students will then receive feedback from experienced professionals while competing against like-minded youth from across the state.

The competition is split into nine regions based on school districts, and students compete against others in their area for the chance to pitch at the state level. The overall winners of the state competition will each receive a $10,000 cash prize, $10,000 toward one year of in-state tuition, internship opportunities and mentoring services.

New to this year’s program, middle school students will also have the opportunity to participate in workshops aimed at fostering entrepreneurial and critical-thinking skills while introducing them to real-world business concepts.

To apply, students must register online and submit a video pitch before the Feb. 6 deadline. To learn more about the competition, watch last year’s winning pitches, and find tips on how to prepare, visit

Shop Local on Small Business Saturday

Our state is home to 500,000 small businesses that employ more than 1.2 million Hoosiers. Indiana’s economy depends on our friends, family and neighbors who embrace the entrepreneurial spirit by starting their own business.

As consumers, we can do our part by shopping at locally owned shops. On Saturday, Nov. 24, we will be celebrating Small Business Saturday to recognize and support small businesses. Click here to learn how to get involved, find local businesses or promote your own business.

If you’re feeling inspired this Small Business Saturday, check out INBiz, a one-stop resource for small-business owners. Whether you want to start a new business, register a company name or file required paperwork, INBiz can help you along the way. The Indiana Department of Revenue also offers the New and Small Business Education Center to help small-business owners better understand state laws, the tax-filing process and what services are available to help as your business grows.

Small businesses bring jobs, innovation and progress to our state, and they deserve our support. Show off your great finds this Small Business Saturday by using #ShopSmall and #INSmallBiz on social media.

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, an initiative to increase awareness and bring attention to the need for permanent families for children of all ages in the foster care system.

In Indiana, the demand for adoption is growing. According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, there are currently more than 1,500 children up for adoption. The Indiana Adoption Program, also known as the Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP), welcomes responsible, caring adults who are ready to give a waiting child a permanent family.

There are many statewide efforts to recognize adoptive families and promote adoption. Indiana courts are celebrating National Adoption Month by allowing photos and video recording in adoption proceedings. Click here for a list of participating counties.

Click here for an interactive map with upcoming adoption awareness events across the state. To learn more about adoption in Indiana and to see the children waiting for a forever family, click here or call 1-888-25ADOPT.

Hiring Our Heroes

Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to thank all of the men and women who have bravely served our country, and Indiana also wants to ensure our veterans feel valued every day.

More than half of the 200,000 service men and women who leave the military each year face a period of unemployment, which is why the state is working to provide them tools to re-enter the workforce. The Next Level Veterans initiative helps pair these veterans with thousands of open jobs in Indiana.

This program unites public and private organizations in order to employ more military personnel leaving service and retain veterans who are already in the state. Having already honed their skills during their time in the military, Next Level Veterans focuses on connecting veterans with high-wage career opportunities.

The Next Level Veterans website provides a one-stop-shop for veterans looking for jobs and training, as well as information on a new veterans-based mortgage program, which helps veterans find affordable housing.

Through the Next Level Veterans initiative, the brave men and women who serve our country will be better connected to employment opportunities upon discharge. For more information, visit

Maintaining Indiana’s honestly balanced budget

This election, Hoosier voters will decide through Public Question #1 if the Indiana Constitution should be amended to require the state legislature to enact honestly balanced state budgets.

Under conservative leadership, Indiana has maintained a balanced budget for the last seven years, along with a AAA bond rating from all three major credit agencies. Our state’s fiscal health and top-rated business climate helped lead to a record number of jobs in Indiana and record-low unemployment. Maintaining our strong fiscal health will help ensure this momentum continues.

If adopted, this proposed amendment would add an additional constitutional safeguard to prevent future legislatures from deficit spending gimmicks or passing debt on to our children and grandchildren. It would also specifically require state lawmakers to prioritize pre-funded pensions before making other budgetary decisions. These added protections will not impact pre-funded pensions for firefighters, teachers and police officers, as confirmed by the Indiana Public Retirement System and by the professional organizations that represent teachers and public safety officers.

To read the full question as it will appear on the ballot and the proposed amendment in its entirety, click here. The Indiana Retired Teachers Association also provides facts to correct rumors and misinformation, while the Indiana Public Retirement System has prepared a Q&A that can be found here.

Free FAFSA Application Assistance

All students, regardless of income level, who are planning to attend college must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid every year. This is the single most important form for helping students receive money to go to college. The FAFSA is required in order for students to be considered for government grants, scholarships and student loans.

The FAFSA must be filed by April 15 for students to be eligible for state financial aid.

To help families navigate the application process, financial aid experts will be providing assistance for college-bound students across Indiana from 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 28, during College Goal Sunday. Students who attend could win 1 of 5, $1,000 scholarships. There will be 39 sites statewide – click here for the location nearest you.

Can’t make it to a College Goal Sunday event? Learn tips for filling out the FAFSA form and common mistakes to avoid by clicking here. You can also explore different types of financial aid by clicking here. If you need any assistance submitting the application, call 1-800-4FED-AID.

Internship Application Deadline Approaching

The application deadline for the 2019 Indiana House Republican Internship Program is Oct. 31.

The House Republican Internship Program provides unique opportunities for college students and recent graduates to participate in state government at the Indiana Statehouse while gaining hands-on experience. This paid internship allows interns to immerse themselves in the legislative process by working directly with state representatives and professional staff.

For many students and recent graduates looking to launch their professional careers, internships with the House Republicans are valuable stepping stones. Nearly 95 percent of employers consider a candidate’s professional experience when hiring for full-time positions, so this program is designed to help interns develop real-world work skills and connections.

The spring semester internship is open to college sophomores, juniors and seniors, graduate students, and recent graduates of all majors. Interns receive a bi-weekly compensation of $750 and can earn college credits. This is a full-time position at the Statehouse in Indianapolis for the duration of the 2019 legislative session, which runs January through April.

The House Republican Internship Program is a great opportunity to make valuable connections while building a resume. To learn more about internship opportunities and the application process, watch these informational videos about each position and visit


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