‘If she wouldn’t have gotten scholarship money …’

Instead of paying nearly $80,000 for her college education, an Indian Creek High School senior will pay only about a fourth of that.

Ashley McKinley received a full scholarship to cover the $17,000-per-year tuition at the University of Southern Indiana. Now, she only has to cover her room and board costs at $5,500 every year.

In order to qualify for the scholarship, McKinley, Indian Creek’s salutatorian, had to be either first or second in her class. Since she entered high school, she studied hard to be in one of the top positions in her class because she knew that would help her with college costs down the line, she said.

“Part of the reason I shot for valedictorian was because I knew by doing that, I could get more scholarships so I could actually pay for my college,” McKinley said.

McKinley has an extra four years of college to pay for. After graduating with a double-major, she plans to go to pharmacy school, either at Southern Indiana or Manchester University.

She was accepted to four colleges — Southern Indiana, Manchester University, Purdue University and Butler University. She chose Southern Indiana since the school offered the best scholarship package. Manchester University, her early favorite, would have cost her at least another $3,000 per year.

“She’s going to the cheapest college in the state, and if she wouldn’t have gotten scholarship money, I don’t know what we’d do,” father Doug McKinley said.

Even though Ashley McKinley received a full-tuition scholarship from Southern Indiana, she still looked for additional scholarships to cover the annual room and board cost, as well as securing money for her future pharmacy school costs.

She is in the running for a $1,000 scholarship, which goes to students who volunteer in the emergency room at Community Hospital South. At Southern Indiana, she has more access to internships, fellowships or job-shadowing opportunities with hospitals or pharmacies that could give her more money in the future, she said.

McKinley also hopes to become a certified pharmacy technician this summer, so she can earn money while in college.

The McKinley File

Name: Ashley McKinley

High School: Indian Creek High School

GPA: 4.278

Parents: Brenda and Doug McKinley

College: University of Southern Indiana

Major: Biochemistry and pharmacy

Cost of one year of tuition and room and board: $22,500

How she’ll pay for it:

  • Full-tuition scholarship through University of Southern Indiana: $17,000
  • The rest: Student loans