Paying for college is often very stressful for both parents and students. For many families, the prospect of paying for college seems impossible without the aid from educational grants and loans. In Indiana, students have many options for obtaining funding to attend college. Some of the programs are meant for specific groups, such as only being available for children of military veterans. Other education grants have set financial requirements, since these are intended for lower income families that cannot pay for college without assistance. All of the programs offer slightly different benefits, but most focus on discounted tuition or assistance with purchasing necessary items for school. The length of the programs and whether or not students have to reapply each year are also dependent on the program. Most grants last for a full year, but even those grants may have a maximum duration that states how many semesters a student can receive benefits. The following are a listing of some of the more popular student aid in Indiana.
FAFSA in Indiana
Before discussing any specific education grants or loans, it is important to understand FAFSA. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. To keep an already involved process from becoming more confusing, all of the education grants and loans are placed under one program, FAFSA. Most scholarships, grants, loans and educational endowments begin with using the information gathered from FAFSA.
The application is essentially a universal application for all the various educational grants and loans available in Indiana. Instead of completing multiple applications, everything is done through the one FAFSA application, which both students and schools can easily reference to determine eligibility. In addition, the FAFSA application is easily updated, which is very convenient for students that need to reapply for benefits in the following year.
One thing that students and parents need to be aware of is that many grants have different deadlines. Students should complete a FAFSA application as early as possible to ensure loan or grant deadlines are met.
Student Loans in Indiana
FAFSA is used to secure award amounts for student loans issued by the federal government. Often referred to as Perkins Loans, or Stafford Loans, these are student loans that will eventually have to be paid back. Qualifying students can receive subsidized loans, which means that the interest on the loan is paid by the federal government while the student is still attending college. Pell grants are based on the same criteria though they are not issued not as loans. These do not have to be repaid.
EARN stands for Employment Aid Readiness Network. EARN is a unique educational grant, since it focuses on employing students instead of just providing financial aid. This gives students access to paid internships, which helps with networking, work experience and building up a resume. In exchange, half of the student’s wages are paid by the state of Indiana. EARN is available to any students with an expected family contribution of less than $24,808 dollars, as of 2017. In addition, students must not already have a degree in order to join the program.
Since EARN is not a traditional educational grant, it is not affiliated with FAFSA. To sign up for EARN, students must apply using a different online application.
Frank O’Bannon Grant in Indiana
The Frank O’Bannon Grant is available to any Indiana residents who are attending or planning to attend college full time. There are some situations where the grant is available for part-time enrollment, but this is handled on a case-by-case basis. The amount provided by the grant is determined by whether the student is attending public, private or an Ivy league school. In addition, the expected family contribution has a large effect on how much is available. Students must use the funds to cover the costs of tuition and general college fees.
Indiana Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship
The Mitch Daniels grant offers a one-time only $4,000 dollar scholarship, which is available for students graduating one year early from a public high school. Students must be full-time high school students and must receive a Core 40 high school diploma by the end of their junior year. Students who attend even a single semester of 12th grade are not eligible for this grant, as they are not technically graduating early. Students that are given this grant may use it for tuition and any other college courses. All remaining funds from the scholarship, if any, goes directly to the student.
Indiana Adult Student Grant
The Adult Student Grant is part of the You Can Go Back program, which is aimed at working adults who never completed a college degree. Students must be financially independent when the application for the grant is submitted and must be enrolled for at least six credit’s worth of classes. To renew the grant, the student must have completed at least 18 credits during the previous academic year. Students receiving this educational grant are rewarded $1,000, which can be used at the discretion of the student.
National Guard Tuition Supplemental Grants in Indiana
There are two types of National Guard grants available. One is meant for children of a parent serving in the National Guard, and the other is meant for students that are members of the Indiana National Guard. Students actively enrolled in the Indiana National Guard have all tuition needs covered, whether attendance is full or part time. The only limitation is the student must attend in either the fall or Spring semesters. Any student whose parent serves in the National Guard is eligible for the same benefits, but the length of the program is more limited.