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529 Plans and Financial Aid Eligibility Blog 

529 Plans and Financial Aid Eligibility

If you’re thinking about opening a 529 account, or if you’ve already opened one, you might be wondering how 529 funds will affect your child’s financial aid eligibility. A general word about financial aid The financial aid process is all about assessing what a family can afford to pay for college and trying to fill the gap. To do this, the federal government and colleges examine a family’s income and assets to determine how much a family should be expected to contribute before receiving financial aid. Financial aid formulas weigh…

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Sticker Shock: Creative Ways to Lower the Cost of College Blog 

Sticker Shock: Creative Ways to Lower the Cost of College

Even with all of your savvy college shopping and research about financial aid, college costs may still be prohibitive. At these prices, you expect you’ll need to make substantial financial sacrifices to send your child to college. Or maybe your child won’t be able to attend the college of his or her choice at all. Before you throw in the towel, though, you and your child should consider steps that can actually lower college costs. Although some of these ideas deviate from the typical four-year college experience, they just might…

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Looking Forward to What’s Next Career 

Looking Forward to What’s Next

Advice from three who are headed to college Leslie Bennett Leslie Bennett will be a senior this fall at Lafayette Jefferson High School. She’s still narrowing down her career path, but she’s leaning toward becoming a math teacher or pursuing a job that involves construction. Leslie hopes to attend Purdue University. For now, she’s working and saving and plans to enjoy the rest of her high school experience, which includes being on the swim team and running cross country. Her advice for high school students: Surround yourself with friends who…

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Click here to READ the Current issue of Next Magazine Blog Featured 

Click here to READ the Current issue of Next Magazine

What’s next? Planning for life after high school is exciting and a little stressful. You—and your parents—are probably trying to figure out what’s next, but you are not alone on this journey. The 2021-22 issue of Next Indiana is here! Next is a magazine offering resources, advice and stories of how other Indiana students are figuring it out. Click on the magazine cover to view the magazine!

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Meet Our Scholarship Winner and Find Out How to Apply. Cost 

Meet Our Scholarship Winner and Find Out How to Apply.

Owen is a winner—you could be, too Apply Here As winner of this year’s Next Indiana scholarship, Owen Baxter has a $1,500 head start on his college expenses. He learned about the scholarship through a link posted by his high school guidance counselor. Owen will attend Purdue University in the fall of 2021 to study Chemical Engineering. “I plan to earn a bachelor’s degree in this field, which I will use to … improve the world by applying my fascination and knowledge in mathematics, science, physics, and, of course, engineering…

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Danger Ahead: Steer Clear of Debt Cost 

Danger Ahead: Steer Clear of Debt

Life after high school is all about setting you up for a fulfilling, financially secure future. Identifying your passions, skills and career options are the biggest pieces of the puzzle, but there’s more to it than that. You have to stay financially healthy, too. Borrowing and/or spending too much money are big temptations that can weigh you down with debt for the rest of your life and cast a shadow over everything you do. It’s a trap too many people fall into. In fact, the average student loan debt for…

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Free Money from The State of Indiana Cost 

Free Money from The State of Indiana

See for full details and requirements. What is it? Who Qualifies? How Much? Child of Veterans and Public Safety Officers Grant (CVO) Students whose parent is a deceased or disabled military veteran, deceased public safety officer or permanently disabled state trooper. Up to 100% of tuition costs at public Indiana colleges. Earline S. Rogers Student Teaching Stipend for Minorities Black or Hispanic students who will participate in student teaching during the upcoming school year. The amount varies basedon student need andavailable funds. EARN Indiana Any student who demonstrates need….

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Throwing Work into The Mix Cost 

Throwing Work into The Mix

Studies say that about half of full-time college students have jobs outside of school. If you are among the half that needs to work, don’t ignore the importance of work-life balance. Going to work, attending class and studying should be your top priorities and might seem like all you have time for, but everyone needs personal time to recharge and stay healthy—mentally and physically. School administrators recommend the following: Schedule classes first, then find work that fits your schedule. If possible, don’t work more than 10-15 hours a week. Don’t…

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Learn How to Save Cost Featured 

Learn How to Save

Having the discipline to save money is a life-skill that will pay off in the future. Maybe you’ve already gotten into the habit of stashing away part of every paycheck to pay for college or other long-term expenses. If so, you are ahead of the game. Here are other ways to save money: Go to class. Otherwise, you’re wasting the money you spent to enroll. Buy or rent used textbooks—and sell back any books you no longer need. Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Drink water. It’s usually free—and…

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A 21st Century Scholar’s Perspective Cost 

A 21st Century Scholar’s Perspective

Mike Werle21st Century ScholarCathedral High School, Class of 2016Indiana University, Class of 2020Behavioral health tech in a mental health group home About the scholarship program: I got involved in the 21st Century scholarship program because my older siblings went through it and mom and dad knew it worked! At Cathedral, my counselor made a point of keeping me on track. That pushed me to work on my grades, because I knew that better grades equal less college debt. (Ask your high school counselor if you can see their drawer of…

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Advice For 21st Century Scholars Cost 

Advice For 21st Century Scholars

For more than 30 years, Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program has helped income-eligible high school students earn up to four years of tuition at eligible Indiana colleges. More than 40,000 students have earned a college degree thanks to a 21st Century Scholarship and another 100,000 are enrolled—from seventh grade through college seniors. Free college tuition is the reward for 21st Century Scholars who take the time every year in high school and college to fulfill their obligations and maintain their scholarship. Fortunately, the College Scholar Success Program is available to…

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Fees Can Add Up. But You Might Not Need to Pay Them. Cost 

Fees Can Add Up. But You Might Not Need to Pay Them.

Many colleges offer application-fee waivers to encourage students to apply regardless of financial difficulty or other circumstances. Check the school’s website or call the admissions office and ask. Fee waivers are more available than most students realize. Here are some of the special circumstances that can save you money: 21st Century Scholars: If you’re a 21st Century Scholar, you may receive automatic fee waivers at some Indiana colleges. Campus Visits: Some colleges award an automatic fee waiver to students who have participated in a campus visit day. If you’re planning…

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Before You Apply… Fill Out the FAFSA Cost Featured 

Before You Apply… Fill Out the FAFSA

You’ll get tired of hearing about the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Well, get over it. This is the big one, the first and most important part of your college financial aid strategy. ALL high school seniors should file the FAFSA online between Oct. 15 and April 15 to qualify for state and federal financial aid for the next academic year. You’ll file the FAFSA every year to keep receiving financial aid. Complete it as soon as possible to maximize opportunities with colleges that might have early financial…

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Build Good Credit Now Cost 

Build Good Credit Now

Your credit score is a three-digit number that tells lenders how trustworthy you are as a borrower and landlords how likely you are to pay your rent. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be approved for credit and to get low interest rates. Building a strong credit score after high school will serve you well in the future—when you apply for a car loan, for example, or a mortgage. Here are a few tips to get you started: Open a credit card account with a low…

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Beware Of Scholarship Scams Cost 

Beware Of Scholarship Scams

Scammers are everywhere, and the world of scholarships is no exception. Don’t fall for these dirty tricks: A guaranteed scholarship in exchange for a fee. Remember, scholarships are free! Unsolicited scholarship offers from someone who contacts you via phone, text or email. Offers to sell you a list of exclusive scholarships. Legitimate scholarships won’t be found on such a list. A general rule of thumb is if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. And never give away personal information, such as your Social Security number or…

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Scholarships—Your Best Path to A Debt-Free Education Cost 

Scholarships—Your Best Path to A Debt-Free Education

Unlike student loans, you don’t repay a scholarship. But getting a scholarship isn’t as easy as walking into a bank. You have to apply for and be awarded a scholarship. Some are based purely on need. Others are merit-based and very competitive. The good news is there is a seemingly endless list of scholarships to apply and compete for. The trick is to find scholarships that you qualify for. Ask your school counselor and each school you apply to, and make sure to apply on time. Think you won’t qualify…

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Financial Buzzwords Cost 

Financial Buzzwords

When you’re looking into the expense of college and other options (and how to pay for them), you’ll run into lots of initials, acronyms and words that are new to you. Here are some common ones to be aware of: Award LetterOfficial letter from the college financial aid office that lists all the financial aid awarded to the student. Bursar’s OfficeThe university office responsible for billing and collections. Cost of Attendance (COA)Usually stated as a yearly figure, it includes tuition and fees, room and board, allowances for books and supplies,…

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Bucket List 101 College 

Bucket List 101

Don’t take this the wrong way (meaning “DON’T SKIP CLASS”), but college isn’t all about tests and grades. You’ll learn plenty and make a lot of memories outside the classroom, too. Here’s a sample bucket list. Borrow from it—or not—but make your own list and then soak up as much of the college experience as you can. Study abroad. You can earn credit while experiencing a new culture. Time abroad can be life changing. Your academic advisor can get you started. Join a club—or start one. Schools have clubs for…

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First Year Away from Home? Avoid Freshman Mistakes College 

First Year Away from Home? Avoid Freshman Mistakes

First-year college students who struggle academically or socially often fall into one of two camps: The homesick, whose longing for home causes them to miss out on many of the opportunities the first year on campus has to offer. And the undisciplined, whose new-found independence results in poor choices and bad grades. It’s normal to be a little homesick, but don’t let it hold you back. Remember, you’re surrounded by other people your age who are going through the same thing. As for independence—sure, it’s great to be on your…

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College Entrance Exams: They Still Matter College 

College Entrance Exams: They Still Matter

Even before the pandemic, many schools were making the SAT and ACT optional. The reason? Concern that the exams weren’t accessible or affordable enough for low-income students, and a growing body of evidence that high school grades, activities and other achievements are better predictors of college success. Then the pandemic struck, forcing cancellation of the exams and causing even more schools to stop requiring them—at least temporarily. Now that the tests are being administered again, many schools still require them as part of your college application. It’s best to take…

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