Grants and Scholarships in Indiana
Earning a college degree takes time, hard work, persistence, and money. If you live in the state of Indiana, there are several sources available to help you cover the cost of your higher education.
There are federal grants, Indiana state scholarships and grants, need-based programs, programs for scholars, athletic scholarships, music scholarships and low-cost student loans.
Scholarships and grants are offered not only by government and educational entities, but also by private clubs, societies, and organizations.
Most Indiana students end up combining a variety of funding sources in order to pay for a college education. If your parents have set aside savings for college, you can make that money go further by supplementing it with scholarships, grants, and loans.
If you don’t have a substantial savings account, you may need to start school by living at home for the first year or two, attending a community college, and working full or part time. You can then transfer to a state or private university for the final two years of college.
Start by Filling Out the FAFSA
Where should you begin the process of finding assistance if you live in Indiana? After you’ve chosen which schools or colleges you are interested in, you and your parents should fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is the key document used to determine a person’s eligibility for educational assistance.
The FAFSA is reviewed by Federal, state and community government bodies, state and community colleges, and private universities. The FAFSA can be obtained from your school counselor or is available on the internet at the www.usa.gov website. It can be filled out online and your personal information is kept secure.
Educational Assistance Available from the State of Indiana
The great state of Indiana also provides a considerable amount of educational assistance to its residents. Information about State of Indiana Grants is available online from the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI), which has been providing educational assistance to Indiana college students since 1965. Guidelines and detailed information about various Indiana awards are available via the state’s website. .
Four general eligibility requirements must be met for all full-time state grants and scholarships awarded through SSACI. First, financial need must be established according to program guidelines, which take into account income, cost of the program, and other financial factors. Second, the FAFSA must be submitted to the federal processor before March 10th and the form must be error-free before May 15th of each and every year. Third, you and your parents, if you are still a dependent, must be legal residents of Indiana at the time of application, and continuing throughout the academic year.
Lastly, you must be an undergraduate who is studying for either an associate or initial bachelor degree; you must maintain successful grades and educational progress; be current on payments for tuition and educational expenses; and successfully meeting the specific requirements of your chosen college.
Indiana Offers Many Grants and Awards
The Frank O’Bannon Grant (formerly called the Indiana Higher Education Grant) is funded through appropriations from the Indiana General Assembly. It offers two types of awards, the Higher Education Award and the Freedom of Choice Award. These grants are intended to assist Indiana students with tuition and fees at approved state schools, and do not need to be repaid. The dollar amounts of these grants will vary from year to year depending upon the amount appropriated and the number of students applying. The FAFSA must be filled out to apply for this grant.
Students who qualify for the Frank O’Bannon Grants are also eligible for a state-funded work-study program that will assist them in earning money for college. Students must apply for the work-study program by May 1 prior to the summer work months. Guidelines for the grants and the work-study program are available through SSACI.
The Twenty-first Century Scholars Program began in 1990 to encourage low and moderate-income families in Indiana and assist them in being able to afford college for their children. Students in the program are asked to take a pledge to achieve certain academic goals, avoid using drugs or being involved in illegal activities, and to apply to an eligible state institution. This needs-based assistance can provide up to four years of tuition assistance to an eligible student.
Grants for Certain Professions Are Available
Part-time or full-time nursing students can qualify for the Nursing Scholarship Fund Program, established in 1990. Students must demonstrate a need for assistance, and also must agree to provide nursing services in Indiana for at least two years after graduation.
The critical shortage of Black and Hispanic teachers in the state led to the establishment of the Minority Teacher Scholarship in 1988. The program has expanded and now includes the fields of Special Education, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy. The program is needs-based and may provide up to $4,000 annually for certain students who pursue these academic programs and provide services in school settings for two years after graduation.
Additional Indiana Assistance and Awards
Honors students who meet academic criteria and certain test score requirements may qualify for the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship. Full-time awardees receive up to $1,500 annually on a renewable basis, provided funds are available.
Members of the Indiana Air and Army National Guard may be eligible for a grant that guarantees up to 100% of certain tuition costs, but does not apply to expenses such as room, board or textbooks. These students may be restricted to attending certain campuses of various state universities and the funds may only be used in fall and spring semesters.
Indiana even offers part-time students a grant program. Established in 2000-2001, the Part-Time Grant Program assists those with a need for education assistance who are attending school on a part-time basis, taking between three and twelve credit hours per semester towards an associate or bachelor degree.
If you are the child of a veteran or a public safety officer, Indiana may offer educational assistance to you. For example, if your parent was a Purple Heart recipient, a dead or disabled veteran, or was a POW/MIA veteran in the Vietnam War, you may qualify for a grant. Additionally, if you are the child or spouse of a police officer, firefighter or EMT killed in the line of duty, or the child or spouse of an Indiana state trooper permanently and totally disabled in the line of duty, the state of Indiana may provide tuition and fee assistance for you at state public colleges. Complete guidelines are available at the SSACI website.
Consider Corporate and Specialized Funding Sources
If you do not find yourself fitting into the programs outlined here, there are still other private sources which may assist you. If your parent works for a college or university, you are probably eligible for reduced tuition or other special assistance. If your parent works for a mid-size or large corporation, check with the human resource department to find out about any corporate scholarships offered for children of employees. The Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Company, for example, offers seven scholarships annually to children and grandchildren of its employees or retirees. Con-Way Freight of Elkhart provided three educational grants to children of Indiana employees in 2009. Children of employees at the LaPorte, Indiana Regional Health System received $97,000 in post-secondary educational scholarships in 2009.
If you are a high school student with a part-time job, check to see if your employer offers scholarships or tuition reimbursement. McDonald’s Corporation has a national scholarship program that awards a scholarship to one student in each state who is a part-time employee working at least fifteen hours a week. Students who are interested in careers in law, medicine, or engineering should check with state and regional bar associations, the AMA, the IEEE and WIE (engineering associations) and other trade and industry groups.
If you are a high school student or attending community college, your school counselors and teachers will also be aware of opportunities in their disciplines. You may be eligible for a music scholarship, an athletic scholarship, a science or math scholarship, or other awards based on your unique talents and interests. Teachers, school counselors, school librarians, and public librarians can help you research scholarship opportunities that may be available from community, regional, state, or national sources.
If you are determined to earn your college degree, you will find a way to achieve your goal through a combination of research, grants, scholarships, student loans, work, and personal savings. In pursuing a college education, you are embarking on an exciting and important learning journey that will continue to impact the quality of your life for many years.