Almost six in 10 graduates of Indiana colleges and universities leave school with debt. Students have many options for Indiana student loans, scholarships, and grants, including loans provided by their school, the government, and private companies.
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If you want to attend school in Indiana, you have a lot of choices. There are public schools, including Indiana State University and Ball State University. You also have plenty of options for private non-profit colleges and universities, including Butler University and DePauw.
Unfortunately, whether you attend a public or private college, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll end up graduating with debt. In fact, 57% of graduates who attended school in The Hoosier State leave school with debt, and the average debt balance is $29,561 according to the Institute for College Access and Success.
You want to borrow the minimum you need to attend the Indiana school of your dreams, so you should always explore scholarships and grants first. Once you’ve exhausted those options, then you have government and private loans to consider.
On this page:
- Getting Financial Aid for College
- State-Based Student Loans in Indiana
- Indiana College Scholarships
- Indiana Grants for College
Getting Financial Aid for College
When you apply to school in Indiana, the school puts together a financial aid package detailing all sources of funding available. This financial aid package includes loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study options.
To be eligible for loans from the government and certain grants and scholarships, you’ll have to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This can be completed online and should be submitted ASAP because some sources of funding run out.
Based on information provided in your FAFSA about your personal finances and your family’s financial situation, your expected family contribution (EFC) will be calculated. The amount of aid available to you will be reduced based on your EFC. If you can’t make your EFC or if the financial aid you’re offered isn’t enough to cover the costs of school, you may need to take out private student loans with a bank, credit union, or online lender.
Free sources of funding, including grants and scholarships, should always be used up first because you don’t have to pay back this money. Government loans should be the next source of funds, because they provide important borrower protections. Finally, private loans can make up the difference.
State-Based Student Loans in Indiana
The state of Indiana does not offer state-based student loans. While some schools offer small short-term loans to students, colleges in Indiana including Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana State University, and Ball State University recommend students apply for federal loans through the Department of Education.
There are also plenty of private student loan options in Indiana, including programs that cater specifically to Indiana residents and non-residents attending schools in the state. Some options to consider include:
- INvestED: This loan, available only to students in Indiana, offers variable interest rates as low as 3.46% and fixed rate loans starting at 6.41% as of December 2018. There’s a choice of a five-, 10-, or 15-year repayment period, and you can choose to begin making payments immediately, defer payments until after graduation, or pay interest only. INvestEd also offers a 2% principal reduction after graduation.
- Indiana Members Credit Union: Through a partnership with Sallie Mae, Indiana Members Credit Union offers loans for undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as MBA loans, law school loans, and loans for medical school, dental school, or programs to train other health professionals. There’s no application fee or prepayment penalty, and students have the option of deferred payments, interest-only repayment, or fixed repayments while in school. Variable rate loans range from 4.37% to 11.23% for undergrads, while fixed-rate loans range from 5.74% to 11.85%.
- Old National Bank: This Indiana bank has also partnered with Sallie Mae to offer the Smart Option Student Loan. Interest rates and payment options mirror those provided by Indiana Members Credit Union, and students can choose a loan repayment term of five to 15 years.
>> Read More: Find Private Student Loans
Indiana College Scholarships
Scholarships are free money, so you won’t have to pay back funds you get from a scholarship. Scholarships could be based on merit or awarded due to financial need. Some are awarded because you’re studying in a particular field, play a sport, are a member of a specific group, or engage in particular activities, such as community service.
Your school’s financial aid office is a good place to start looking for scholarships in Indiana. For example:
- Ball State University offers a scholarship search tool, as well as a variety of scholarships for freshmen, transfer students, international students, and other Ball State attendees.
- Indiana State University lists scholarships on its financial aid page, including scholarships for minority teachers, the Mitch Daniels Early Graduation scholarship, and the 21st Century Scholars Excellence and Book Voucher Award.
- Indiana University Bloomington has an Office of Scholarships, which helps you to explore scholarships made available by the school as well as by outside organizations.
While you should start your search with your school’s financial aid office, you should also look to local businesses, churches, and clubs and organizations you’re a member of to explore all opportunities for free funds for school.
Some examples of scholarships open to eligible Indiana students include:
- The Barnes-Elrod Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship is available to students attending Indiana Wesleyan University. Preference is given to students majoring in Christian Ministry. The minimum and maximum scholarship amount varies, and the application deadline is the 1st of March.
- INCPA Educational Foundation Scholarships: These scholarships are available to minority high school students who are interested in business or accounting. Students must have a GPA of at least 2.5, and applications must be submitted by June 1. Scholars receive an academic gift of $500, a CPA mentor, a college accounting student buddy, a letter of recommendation, business clothing, meals, and transportation to firms and businesses that employ CPAs.
- Indiana Engineering Scholarships: Each year, the Indiana Department of Transportation provides scholarships valued at $3,125 per semester. Students who receive these scholarships also work in paid internships at DOT during the summer and receive priority hiring within the agency. Eligible students must attend a school of engineering and be working towards an undergraduate or graduate degree in civil engineering; also, scholarship funding cannot exceed five years total, with a maximum of two years of funding for graduate programs. Students must maintain a GPA of 2.8 and must submit applications by December 31.
- The 21st Century Scholarship: Indiana residents whose families meet income guidelines can apply while in 7th or 8th grade. The scholarship can provide up to four years of paid tuition to students who qualify and participate in programs aimed at helping to prepare them for college.
Indiana Grants for College
Grants provide free money, just as scholarships do. However, grants are typically awarded based primarily or exclusively on financial need.
Grant funding is available from the state and the federal government. Examples of grants Indiana students could be eligible for include:
- The Frank O’Bannon Grant: This grant is open only to students who are Indiana residents as of December 31 the year before applying for aid. It’s open only to students who go to school full-time or who plan to. To apply, students need to submit their FAFSA. Grant amounts vary based on expected family contribution and range from $0 to $9,000. Students can receive an $800 bonus for achieving academic honors, as well as a bonus for earning an associate’s degree before enrolling in a BA program or for completing coursework on an accelerated schedule.
- The Adult Student Grant: This program provides up to $2,000 in grant funding, renewable annually, for adult students who return to school to start or complete an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or certification. Students will need to complete the FAFSA and demonstrate financial need.
- The Workforce Ready Grant: This program pays tuition and fees for students obtaining highly valued certificates at Ivy Tech Community College or Vincennes University. The grant provides funding for up to two years. Students must be Indiana residents who are at least 18 and who enroll at least half-time if they’re independent or full-time if they’re dependent students. They must maintain satisfactory academic progress. To apply, you must complete your FAFSA and connect with a training provider at NextLevelJobs.
You can find details about grant funding at the website of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Your school will also have resources to help you find grants. For example, Indiana University Bloomington has details on federal grants, grants for Indiana residents, and grants made available by the school.
You Can Find Funds for School in Indiana
As you can see, you have ample options to pay to attend school in Indiana. Just be certain to use free sources of aid first, then federal loans, and finally private student loans. By making sure you exhaust your options for free and low-cost funding, you’ll minimize the debt you graduate with—and that you have to pay back once you’ve entered the working world
Author: Christy Rakoczy