Caleb Morey’s dad left the family about 11 years ago, leaving Caleb’s mom to raise two kids on a school nurse’s salary.

Saving for college just wasn’t an option. So, when Caleb was in junior high, his mom signed him up for 21st Century Scholars.

“I don’t really remember having to do much. Then I went to apply for college and it kicked in.”

After graduating from Yorktown High School, outside of Muncie, Caleb enrolled at nearby Ball State University to study economics and history. The state program paid for all his tuition. A combination of additional scholarships and coaching high school basketball helped him pay for the rest of his expenses.

In May 2019, Caleb graduated debt-free.

Three months later, he began law school at Arizona State University.

Even without 21st Century Scholars, Caleb thinks he still would have gone to college. But he would have had to borrow money or ask his grandparents for financial help.

Law school, though, was never a certainty.

“If I would have had all that debt weighing over my head, I’m not sure I would have done it,” he said.

Caleb is engaged to be married this summer. Eventually, he and his fiancée plan to move back to the Midwest and start a family.

Closing the Gap in Educational Achievement

Ball State University’s 21st Century Scholars have been vital to closing the achievement gap, curbing the brain drain, and more. Want to know how this program has made a difference for our students? Read more of their stories.