Getting free money for college sounds much easier than it is. Applying for scholarships can be time-consuming and daunting, especially since nothing is guaranteed.
But the risk is worth the reward. The more free money you get to pay for college, the less borrowed money, including student loans, you’ll have to pay back later.
Scholarships and grants are similar because you don’t need to pay either back after you graduate. But scholarships are merit-based, where you’re rewarded based on your academic performance. Grants are need-based — given out based on your and your family’s financial need.
Indiana students have some good options, especially when it comes to applying for help long before you enter school. Here are some of the best Indiana scholarships available.
1. 21st Century Scholars Program
If you commit to college in seventh or eighth grade and complete a program in high school, you could be eligible for the 21st Century Scholars Program.
Requirements: You’ll need to be an Indiana resident both when you apply and when you receive your money. Public or private school students in seventh or eighth grade are eligible to apply, while home-schooled students aren’t. There are income eligibility requirements.
Award amount: It varies.
How to apply: You can apply through 21st Century Scholars.
2. Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship
The Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship is a one-time award for high school students who have completed their diploma requirements by the end of 11th grade.
Requirements: You must have attended a public Indiana high school and graduated at the end of your junior year. Seniors aren’t eligible.
Award amount: You’ll receive $4,000.
How to apply: Along with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you’ll need to apply through IN.gov.
3. Indiana Sheriffs’ Association scholarship
The Indiana Sheriffs’ Association scholarship is available for Indiana college students pursuing a career in law enforcement.
Requirements: You must be or plan to be a full-time student enrolled at an Indiana college or university. You need to be a member of the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association (a $24 fee) or a child or grandchild of a member. All applications need to be mailed. A transcript — either from high school or college, depending on your status — must be submitted with the application.
Award amount: It varies.
How to apply: Apply through the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association.
4. Indiana educational scholarships
There are educational scholarships available for Indiana students too. Here are a few for which you might qualify:
- William A. Crawford Minority Teacher Scholarship: This scholarship is awarded to black and Hispanic students planning to teach in the state after graduation. You could get up to $4,000 annually.
Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship: This scholarship is open to students who agree to teach in the state for five years after graduation. You can earn up to $7,500 each year for up to four years.
Earline S. Rogers Student Teaching Stipend for Minorities: This is a stipend for black and Hispanic students looking to take part in student teaching or an internship. You could receive up to $4,000 in aid.
Student Teaching Stipend for High-Need Fields: This is another stipend for certain fields. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education defines a high-need field as middle or high school math, science, or special education.
More ways to get money beyond Indiana scholarships
If you’ve exhausted all your Indiana scholarship options, there are a few other ways to get money for school. Consider these alternatives:
- Grants: There are many Indiana grants available. Getting free money through grants and scholarships will reduce your need for student loans.
- Asking family: Your parents and other relatives might be willing to help you finance your college education. Even if it’s minimal, money from family is still a big help to your education costs.
- Applying for loans: Your FAFSA will have your federal loans assessed alongside your grants and scholarships. But you might need private student loans to cover extra costs.
If you’re not sure where to find money for school, scholarships are a great first step. Free money in the form of scholarships, grants, and family help is a good way to ensure financing for school without taking out loans.
But it’s OK if you need to take out student loans, either federal or private. Make sure you understand your loan terms, interest rate, and repayment plan before agreeing to anything. Loans for college should be an asset, not a detriment. Use them wisely.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 2/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.23% – 13.23%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.20% – 11.44%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 10.11%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 13.25%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.85% – 6.99%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.95% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.42%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|