INvestEd helps thousands of Hoosier families with steps in the college planning process. We know it can seem a little overwhelming and many questions may come up as you go through it. Below we’ve listed answers to some of the questions we get asked most frequently as a quick resource for you!
You can research schools both online and by visiting the campus. INvestEd thinks it’s important to do both. College Navigator is a great online tool that will get you started in the process and will give you a lot of information about colleges all over the country. Once you’re ready to visit some campuses we suggest setting up formal visits to help you narrow your choices.
INvestEd has developed a list of what we think are some of the most important questions to ask. Check out our “Top Questions to Ask During Your College Search” to organize your thoughts and use it when you are attending college fairs and visiting campuses.
A great place to start figuring out cost for colleges you are interested in is their Net Price Calculator(NPC). INvestEd has dedicated a page on our website to Comparing College Costs which includes a link to the Net Price Calculator Center to take you to the NPC for the schools you’re looking at, as well as our College Cost Comparison Worksheet.
There are three main places students should look for scholarships; the colleges you are considering applying to, high school counselors for info on local and community organizations, and national search sites. INvestEd has tips to get you started on your search for FREE money on our Finding Scholarships page!
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the starting point and most important form in the financial aid process. It is the application for scholarships, grants, federal work study and education loans. Check out our Completing the FAFSA page for additional information!
Go to FAFSA.gov to file the FAFSA. Look over our Completing the FAFSA page for help!
The Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) serves as your electronic signature on the FAFSA and you will use it each year you complete the FAFSA. You can create your FSA ID username and password by going to https://fsaid.ed.gov. Here’s a document to walk you step by step through creating your FSA ID.
There is no guarantee that you will receive federal grants or loans by filing the FAFSA, but if you don’t file, there is no chance at all. Even though you think your family makes too much money to qualify for need-based aid, you should still file the FAFSA. It is a FREE application that will help determine your eligibility for institutional money as well as state and federal grants, work study, and education loans.
Your parent’s information is required on the FAFSA if you are a dependent student. To understand what determines whether or not you are a dependent student visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/dependency.
If your parents are divorced or separated, use the information of the parent you lived with more in the last 12 months. If you split your time equally between both parent’s households, use the information of the parent who provided more financial support in the last 12 months on the FAFSA. If your parent is remarried, you must use your parent and step-parent’s information on the FAFSA.
You’ll need information such as your social security number, tax return, W2 and bank statements. Take a look at our FAFSA Checklist for a complete list of all the documents you may need to file the FAFSA as well as a place to record your FSA ID username and password.
The deadline to file the FAFSA for state of Indiana grants is April 15th. INvestEd recommends always checking with the financial aid offices at the schools you’re applying to for their deadline, and file it by the earliest date. Even if you miss those deadlines (state or school) you should still file the FAFSA in order to obtain federal aid.
After the FAFSA
No, the cost of attendance (COA) is the total amount it may cost you to attend a school, while tuition is just the cost of the classes. COA includes direct and indirect cost. Direct costs include tuition and fees (classes) as well as room and board (housing/food). Indirect costs are estimates by the school for books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. COA gives you a full picture of the costs most students incur at a school.
Work study is a part-time job where you earn money to help pay educational expenses. Job options are often on campus, but could also be at businesses in the community. In order to qualify for federal work study, you must file the FAFSA and the school will let you know if you qualify. Not all work study programs are the same, so be sure to talk to financial aid office at your school for details. You can also find out more on our Exploring Student Employment page.
The government pays the interest on a subsidized loan while you are in school. On an unsubsidized loan, interest grows while you are in school, increasing the overall loan amount you have to repay. For more information on education loans, visit our web page Understanding Student Loan Options.
The amount you can borrow depends on whether you are a student or parent and what type of loan you are considering. Federal loans have an annual and aggregate (total) limit, based on dependency status and grade level.
Federal loans for parent(s) are limited to the cost of the school minus other financial aid you receive. The same limit applies to private loan options that are in both a student and cosigner’s name. We created a webpage dedicated to help you Understand Student Loan Options!
You can start comparing college costs early with the use of net price calculators and our College Cost Comparison Worksheet. As you begin receiving award letters, compare them to better understand the difference between the FREE money available and how much you may need to borrow. Comparing college cost is critical to making a wise decision on where you will attend and how you will pay for your education. Visit Comparing College Costs to get started!
Remember, these are just frequently asked questions; your situation may be unique. Always remember that you can contact us with any questions you may have at (317) 715-9007 or by email at email@example.com and we’ll respond with an answer quickly!
We’re Here for You
Connecting with us is easy for you and your family. Call an INvestEd team member at 317-715-9007 or email us. We’re not a normal business hours team — we’re a service hours team! Also, check our Events Calendar to see if we will be at a location near you.