Ivy Tech Community College

Guy studyingOnce you have made the choice to pursue higher education, it is then time to find the right school to suit your educational needs. Ivy Tech Community College is an affordable option in the state of Indiana, with 32 degree-granting locations and classes offered in over 75 different communities around the state. Offering associate’s degrees and many certificate programs in a variety of fields, Ivy Tech students can also easily transfer their credits to a larger Indiana university to pursue a bachelor’s degree. No matter what your educational goals may be, Indiana’s largest postsecondary institution, Ivy Tech Community College, is sure to have a solution.

Ivy Tech Student Life

Ivy Tech Community College has a thriving community offering many student activities on the various campuses, including athletics, leadership opportunities, clubs, and many different organizations. Class sizes are kept small, around 22 students in each class, so that students are guaranteed individual and personal attention. Students may also choose to attend class online in the comforts of their own homes. Ivy Tech offers over 350 online courses, and some degree programs can even be completed in their entirety without ever leaving your home.

With the exception of the Ivy Tech-Northeast campus, where students can choose to live in the IPFW Student Housing on the Waterfield Campus, students commute to school each day from their own homes. IPFW Student Housing ranges in cost from $385 to $771 a month currently for fully furnished apartments, and costs can be lowered by having a roommate or two. The Student Life Office has more information on apartments near each specific campus, and rent differs depending on location. Many apartment communities near each individual campus will offer discounts or waive some of the fees for Ivy Tech students, so be sure to check into that to save some money.

Completing the FAFSA

6 ways to make the most of your summer internshipIn order to fill out your FAFSA, you will need to determine if you are a dependent or independent student. Dependent students are under 24, unmarried, and don’t have any dependents of their own. If you are a dependent student, you will need your parents’ information when filling out your forms. The fastest way to complete your FAFSA is online by creating a FSA ID, which acts as your digital signature and allows you access to all of your federal financial aid information. Be sure to keep this in a safe place and don’t share it with anyone. You will need your Social Security Number, name, and date of birth to create your FSA ID. Additionally, when completing your FAFSA, you will need your most current tax records (and those of your parents if you are a dependent) and any other relevant financial information.

The FAFSA will determine your expected family contribution (EFC) in order to calculate what type and the amount of federal financial aid you may qualify for. A Student Aid Report, or SAR, will then be generated and mailed to both you and the school. Ivy Tech Community College as well as the Indiana Division of Financial Student Aid (FSA) also use your FAFSA to determine financial aid eligibility through both the school and state agencies. Be sure to check with your financial aid office and pay attention to the deadlines at Ivy Tech for filing your FAFSA on time in order to qualify for financial aid. Indiana state scholarships and grants have a deadline of March 10th, for example. You will need to reapply and resubmit your FAFSA each year as well.

Federal Financial Aid

Federal financial aid comes in the form of both grants and low-cost student loans. The federal Pell Grant offers undergraduate students without a bachelor’s degree as much as $5,815 for the 2016-2017 academic year for students demonstrating financial need. The award amount will depend on your total cost of attendance minus any other financial aid already received, full-time student status, intention to remain at school for the entire academic year, and your college.

With a federal student loan, the U.S. Department of Education is your lender, and current loans are distributed through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. These loans may be subsidized or unsubsidized, consolidation loans, or loans for parents of students (called PLUS Loans and requiring a credit check). Direct Subsidized Loans are based on financial need and the federal government pays your interest for you. Direct Unsubsidized Loans, on the other hand, require you to make your own interest payments and may not be based on financial need.

Maximum loan amounts are based on your year in school, total cost of attendance (COA), dependent or independent status, financial need most of the time, and your school. Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans have current limits of $5,500 to $12,500 a year for undergraduate students. You can borrow both subsidized and unsubsidized funds at the same time up to these maximum amounts. Parent PLUS Loans are for the parents of undergraduate dependent students and have maximum amounts based on the total COA minus any other financial aid the student is receiving. Interest rates for all federal loans are set by the government and remain fixed for the life of your loan. For current rates, you can check the Federal Student Aid website.

Ivy Tech Community College, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, wants to ensure that you don’t over borrow and now requires all students applying for an unsubsidized loan to fill out a loan request form and reduces the annual maximum amount $2,000 for independent students borrowing over $7,501 in both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. In order to be eligible for federal financial aid, you must meet the following criteria:

Grants Offered at Ivy Tech

Grants are essentially free money to help you pay for school. Ivy Tech Community College participates in several grant programs in order to make higher education more accessible to a wider range of students. One such program, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), is a federal program that is distributed by each school’s financial aid office and therefore considered campus-based aid. It is offered to students demonstrating severe financial need with a zero EFC. Ivy Tech receives a set amount of federal funds to distribute to eligible students and these funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is important to get your application in early.

The amount you receive may be less than the total you are awarded due to limited funds. FSEOG awards vary between $100 and $4,000 a year. Ivy Tech also awards college-funded grants to eligible students who demonstrate the need for fee remission and meet campus-specific requirements. Other Indiana state grants and eligibility requirements include:

In order to apply for any of these grants, you must have a completed FAFSA submitted before the deadline. Some may require an additional application. For more information, contact your campus financial aid office or check the Ivy Tech Community College website.

Alternative Loans

Financial institutions and organizations, including banks, offer private student loans as well. These alternative loans are usually less desirable than federal loans as rates and terms are generally not as favorable and will vary based on the lender. Maximum loan amounts are determined by Ivy Tech Community College’s campus Financial Aid Office, although your lender may offer you less based on a credit check. Oftentimes, utilizing a cosigner will entitle you to the lowest rates and maximum borrowing amounts. Private loans generally have an online application process through their sites directly. Once approved you will need to contact your campus Financial Aid Office to determine what you need to do next.

Campus Connect

Once you have applied and been accepted to Ivy Tech Community College, it is important to set up your Campus Connect account. This acts as an online portal through which you can accomplish most tasks related to school, including learn about campus events, browse course catalogues, check your school email, register for classes, check on the status of your financial aid package, apply for scholarships, pay your bill, and more. To create an account, you only need your name, student ID number, birthday, and zip code.

Ivy Tech Community College offers a myriad of scholarship opportunities, and once you are connected to Campus Connect, you can then apply for Ivy Tech scholarships, which vary by campus location. Many external organizations and non-profits also offer scholarships so be sure to explore any and all options you can think of . Scholarships may be based on merit, race, gender, field of study, club or organization membership, and much more. You can also explore the many flexible options for paying your tuition, including paying in full, paying as you go, and using your financial aid with Campus Connect.

What Next?

Confused woman

Once you receive a financial aid package, you may be wondering what comes next and how you will get and/or use the funds. Most forms of financial aid are disbursed directly to the school, up to twice an academic year, and placed into your school account to be used to pay for tuition and school fees. If there is any remaining money, it may be disbursed to you directly to pay for books, room and board, and other school-related expenses, which may include a computer, school supplies, child care, or even transportation to and from school. Your campus Financial Aid Office will have more details on how and when you can spend your financial aid funding.

In order to receive most loans, you will be required to attend both entrance and exit interviews, which will detail your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. Remember that you do not have to borrow as much as you are offered; you can always borrow less. Only borrow what you need so as not to graduate with mountains of debt that are difficult to climb out from underneath. Federal loans also require you to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) detailing your loan terms and your intention to pay back the money. You should always keep this in a safe place. It is also important to make sure that your lender has your most up-to-date contact information as loans may sometimes transfer loan servicers, which could affect where you send your bills to during repayment.

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