Financial Aid

There is a wide variety of types and sources of financial aid. From grants and scholarship to loans and work-study, each offers options for students and families. Investigating each of the options can help students make smart choices when it comes to paying for college. Below are some tools and resources to help with that investigation. If you have questions, make sure to send them to Outreach@ISMCollegePlanning.org and we’ll be happy to help.

Grants

Grants are financial aid that does not have to be paid back. A major step for a student to leave college with as little debt as possible is to make sure they receive all of the grant money they are eligible for. Too often students miss out on some grant money and end up taking a bigger loan than they otherwise might have. Grants come from both the state and federal government and are based on financial need.

State of Indiana Grants

For more information about the State of Indiana’s Grant Programs click here »

Federal Grants

The Federal Government is the largest source of college funding. Below are some of the grant programs offered by the Federal Government. Not all of the eligibility requirements are listed. For more information on the Federal Grant Programs click here »

Scholarships

Here is some great news: searching for scholarships is MUCH easier now than ever before! Many websites let you apply online and are dedicated to helping you find a scholarship that you qualify for. FASTWEB and CollegeNet are just two popular places for finding scholarships. These sites ask you a few questions and then show you a list of scholarships you qualify for. Billions of dollars of aid are available here. You can also use our Scholarship Search Help Sheet. It presents a helpful list of resources and tips, while listing additional places to ask about scholarship offerings.

Work-Study

One of the great ways to avoid excessive student loan debt is also one that so many eligible students overlook. The federal work-study program offers many people the opportunity to earn money to pay for college expenses. The program encourages employment in fields related to your major or in community service. If you’re a chemistry student you may have a work-study job cleaning the chemistry lab, or you might be working with the professor in the lab helping younger students. For more information about the federal work-study program click here.

The FAFSA

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the most important form for both federal and state of Indiana financial aid. A number of colleges also use the FAFSA to determine your need and eligibility for grants and scholarships. To be eligible for all federal and Indiana financial aid you must submit a FAFSA by March 10. Don’t forget the first “F” in FAFSA stands for free. Never pay to file the FAFSA, and know that there are many free services to help you fill it out. The ISM College Planning Team offers several solutions to help you complete and submit your FAFSA by the Indiana deadline of March 10. We understand that some people may be intimidated by the form, and others would simply like some reassurance along the way. We’re happy to help. We are happy to help you and your family complete the FAFSA!

What you need to file your FAFSA:

Students:

  • Social Security Card
  • Driver’s License (if any)
  • W-2 forms and/or records of money earned
  • Federal Income Tax Return (IRS 1040, 1040a, 1040EX)
  • Current Bank Statements

Parents:

  • Social Security Card
  • W-2 forms and/or records of money earned
  • Federal Income Tax Return (IRS 1040, 1040a, 1040EX)
  • Current Bank Statements
  • Other Business or investment records

Student Loan Options

As more students enroll in college and costs continue to rise, students are borrowing larger amounts more often. As additional families have need, it’s important that students understand their loan options. All loans are NOT the same. At ISM College Planning our goal is to help you find and apply for free money in the form of grants and scholarships. If the amount of free money and savings does not cover the cost of tuition, we will help you to understand and evaluate the best loan options as a last resort. Making smart choices about paying for college, and getting in the least amount of debt possible, can help you avoid financial problems both now and in the future. Make sure you have used all your free money options before considering a loan, and remember a loan must be repaid! For more information on loan options click here.

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