Can I Get Help Paying for College?

Can I Get Help Paying for College?


You don’t only have to rely on student loans in order to pay for school. There are many organizations across Indiana and beyond looking to help out students through scholarships and financial aid. Here, we’ll guide you on how you can find these organizations and programs.

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Avoid Student Loans?

Start saving early with an Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan.

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Merit-Based Aid vs. Need-Based Aid

Did you know that your good grades could earn you more dollars for college? Scholarships, grants and institutional aid ­– money you receive for college that you don’t have to pay back – fall into two categories:

Merit-Based Aid

Merit-based aid is awarded to students who have distinguished themselves academically, artistically, athletically, or in another area. Even for aid based on extracurricular activities, grades matter. There is often a grade point average (GPA) cut-off for these. For example, some scholarships only accept applications from students with a 3.0 or higher GPA.

Need-Based Aid

Need-based aid is influenced by how much you or your family can pay for your college education. Things like your family’s income, or another status such as living in a foster home, may qualify you for need-based financial aid. If you qualify for need-based aid, you’ll still have to keep up with your grades – Indiana includes academic requirements for need-based grants and scholarships.

For students who display financial need and have not earned a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree, Federal Pell Grants offer a solution. A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid except under certain specific circumstances. Find out why you might have to repay, and learn more about Federal Pell Grants here.

For full-time or part-time students with financial need, the Federal Work Study program allows them to earn money to help pay education expenses part-time, on or off campus. Click here to learn more about Federal Work Study or Indiana’s work study program, EARN Indiana.

Indiana’s two largest need-based aid programs are the Frank O’Bannon grant and the 21st Century Scholars program. Find information about these and other Indiana Scholarship programs here.

College Scholarships For

Hoosier Students

Take the quiz on our Scholarship Finder to find scholarships you may be eligible for.

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