Financial Aid Directory

Being accepted into college is an exciting accomplishment, but figuring out how to pay for a college education can sometimes be MORE challenging. Even families who think they can cover the cost of post secondary education and training should explore the opportunities that financial aid provides. 

What is financial aid?
Financial aid is any grant, scholarship, loan, or paid employment offered to help reduce the direct cost of post-high school education. School-related expenses such as housing, food, transportation, books and supplies may also be covered by some forms of financial aid.

What kind of financial aid is available?
There are two primary sources of financial aid:

Loans - They are available from the government or a financial institution. Loans accrue interest, and must be paid back in monthly installments over a set period of time. There are two kinds - subsidized and unsubsidized. If the loan is subsidized, the federal government will pay the interest accrued while the student is still in school; this is a good time to begin paying off the principal amount! Unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest from the moment the loan is taken out; this can raise the overall amount of the loan substantially. Be careful when accepting loans and only take out what you need.

Scholarships/Grants - These are amounts of money that go towards college expenses, but they do not need to be repaid. These are both separated into need- and merit-based aid. Need-based aid is based on financial situations, but merit-based aid is based on grades, school and community involvement, and other special abilities. 

You can also locate other sources of financial aid at the place you work, where your parents work, by signing up for the military, or through federal work-study programs.

How to start
1.) Begin searching for scholarships as soon as possible - this means before your senior year. While you usually can't apply for them early, it is better to be aware of your options early. 
2.) Get a part-time job, and start saving
3.) Open a savings account to save for college as early as you can
4.) Attend SHS' Financial Aid Night
5.) File the FAFSA between October 1 and March 10 of your senior year

How much does it cost to go to college?
The average In-State tuition cost in Indiana is about $7,000 plus room and board (around the same amount as tuition) and other fees. Out-of-State tuition costs are about three times that amount.  There are several college cost calculators available, including FinAid and Big Future.

Who is eligible for financial aid?
More families are eligible for financial aid than you may think. Federal and state financial assistance is tied closely to your family income. Scholarship and grants are available to almost every student.

What is the FAFSA?
Indiana students who want to be considered for state and federal aid, must complete a form called the FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid (https://fafsa.ed.gov/). 

You must complete the FAFSA between October 1st and March 10th to qualify for state or federal financial aid. Even if you don't think you will receive any aid, most colleges and scholarships require it as well. You can fill it out before you decide on your school, because you can list several schools on the same form.

How is my Financial Aid determined?
The FAFSA determines your family's Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) based on income, assets, family size, number of family members in post-secondary education, and other factors. Your eligibility for federal grants, loans, and work-study depends on this number. Each school will offer you financial aid after considering your family's EFC.

The college then sends you an award notification letter. If you have questions about your awards, contact the colleges' financial aid office. The college financial aid office can also tell you how to apply for loans and how to collect the financial aid that you have been awarded.You do not need to feel obligated to accept any loans or the full amounts. Only take what you need.

Where else can I find information?
Indiana’s State Student Assistance Commission (SSACI) oversees the allocation of financial aid in the state. Look  at what they offer at: http://www.in.gov/che/ 

The Indiana Career and Postsecondary Advancement Center (ICPAC) is another great Indiana resource for financial aid and scholarship information.

Visit these other sites for more information on financial aid and scholarships:

General Financial Aid
WiredScholar
FastWeb