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How to Pay for Indiana University: Financial Aid and Student Loan Options

Indiana University offers courses at nine campuses and online, providing students with access to hundreds of academic programs. With core campuses in Bloomington and Indianapolis, you may be interested in attending this school.

Whether attending online or locally, you’ll need to make a plan for how to pay for Indiana University. Costs can vary depending on which campus you attend. But you can expect to spend over $10,000 annually at most campuses, according to cost estimates from College Scorecard.

Consider these cost estimates for full-time resident undergraduate students at Indiana University Bloomington:

Costs of attending Indiana University Bloomington
Annual in-state tuition and fees $10,680
Annual room and board $10,466
Total cost $24,778
Net cost (after aid) $15,349
Median debt after graduation $22,500
All info current as of Sept. 4, 2018. Sources: College Scorecard, Indiana University Bloomington

Unlocking financing options: The FAFSA

To help pay for Indiana University, it’s important to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be completed online, and you’ll need to provide basic information about your financial situation. If you’re an undergraduate and aren’t considered independent of your family, you’ll have to include information about your parent or guardian’s income, too.

The FAFSA becomes available Oct. 1, and you should complete it as soon as possible because many forms of aid are limited in funding and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The sooner you apply, the better chances you have of gaining access to federal work-study, grants, and scholarships.

Completing the FAFSA is not only necessary to be eligible for federal aid, including student loans, but you’ll also need to have submitted an application to be eligible for many sources of state aid.

Grants for Indiana University students

Try to find as many free sources of money for college as possible to limit reliance on debt to pay for Indiana University. Grants are one source of money to help you afford an education. As a form of gift aid, grants don’t need to be paid back.

Grants are usually made available to students with financial need. Some federal grants are open to any Indiana University student, while others are available only to Indiana residents.

Consider these grants as you research how to pay for Indiana University:

As you research funding opportunities, be sure to check our guide to state grants. You may learn about extra sources for grants.

Scholarships for Indiana University students

Like grants, scholarships are free money you don’t have to repay. Many scholarships are based on merit rather than need. The criteria may even consider your background, unique talents, or field of study. If you’re part of any specific organizations or groups, check to see if you qualify for any scholarships offered by them.

Indiana University has an Office of Scholarships that may assist you as you seek funding. Using its search tool, you can find scholarships offered to in-state and out-of-state students, as well as incoming freshmen.

Some of the scholarships you can find include:

  • IU Academic Scholarships: Incoming students with high academic performance can become eligible based on information provided on their admission application. High school transcripts and test scores are used to determine eligibility.
  • IU Selective Scholarships: There are nine different scholarships that students can gain access to by completing a Selective Scholarship Application. Students will be notified via email and in their admission packet if they’re eligible to apply for selective scholarships.
  • IU School, College, and Department Scholarships: Scholarships are offered through different programs, including the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, and the IU Jacobs School of Music.
  • Cox Scholars Program: This donor-funded Indiana University scholarship program offers a series of scholarships for incoming and current students.

You can also find scholarships offered through private institutions and community groups such as churches and unions.

You can use these scholarship search tools to help get started looking for scholarships.

Federal work-study

Indiana students who complete the FAFSA can also become eligible for federal work-study. When students are granted work-study, the government subsidizes their wages for certain on- and off-campus jobs.

Indiana University students should explore work-study opportunities at the campus they attend. For Indiana University Bloomington students, for example, the Career Development Center provides a searchable database of work-study positions.

Federal student loans

When figuring out how to pay for Indiana University, you should seek grants, scholarships, and work-study before considering student loans. If you have a funding gap, you may consider federal student loans.

When borrowing money to pay for school, you should always max out federal student loans before considering private loans. That’s because federal loans come with borrower protections, such as income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness, that other types of financing may not.

When you borrow from the federal government, you don’t need good credit or proof of income to qualify. You also don’t need to shop around because each federal loan type comes with a predetermined fixed interest rate and loan fee.

Undergraduate students can borrow Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Grad students qualify for Direct Unsubsidized Loans and PLUS Loans, and parents of undergraduate students may qualify for Parent PLUS Loans.

This table shows the key features of federal loans:

Loan type Eligible borrowers Interest rates for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2018 Fees for loans disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2018
Direct Subsidized Loans Undergrads with demonstrated financial need, regardless of credit history 5.05% 1.062%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Undergrads and grad students, regardless of need or credit history 5.05% for undergrads; 6.60% for grad students 1.062%
PLUS Loans Graduate students and parents of undergrad students who don’t have adverse credit 7.60% 4.248%

Private student loans

If you’ve exhausted all other funding options, you may consider private student loans. These are offered by private institutions, such as banks, credit unions, and online lenders, and can help you cover remaining educational expenses.

Shopping around is important when you’re considering private loans. You’ll find that different lenders may offer different interest rates, loan repayment options, and eligibility criteria.

Unlike federal loans, private student loans don’t offer you loan forgiveness options or the opportunity to adjust your payments according to your discretionary income. Although some lenders may allow you to pause payments if you face financial hardship, this isn’t a feature for all private student loans.

Further, you’ll need to meet credit requirements to get private student loans. That means you may need a cosigner to qualify.

While there are clear downsides to private student loans, you can find loans with reasonable terms if you shop around. If you have solid credit and are confident in your ability to repay your loans, this form of private debt may allow you to secure a lower interest rate than one offered on federal student loans.

The bottom line: Paying for Indiana University

Knowing how to pay for Indiana University requires a lot of legwork. Learning where to find sources of funding and who to turn to for help could be a good first step. Remember to fill out the FAFSA as soon as you’re able. That application will be key as you seek money to pay for school.

Before turning to student loans, exhaust your options for grants, scholarships, and work-study. That way, you can minimize the amount of debt you’ll have to repay after graduation.

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