Funding Your Education Wisely. Trusted Advice for Smarter Choices

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1 Funding Your Education Wisely Trusted Advice for Smarter Choices

2 WE RE HERE HELP! to We want to help you fund your education wisely while meeting your educational goals. Whether it s: A live event in your community Meeting with you one-on-one Over the phone Online at ISMCollegePlanning.org FREE Help! ISM College Planning promotes educated decision making for higher education choices to students, families and counselors! Strong choices before college are the best way to: Increase the likelihood of graduating on time Reduce the total cost of college Minimize debt students and families incur For 35 years ISM s goal has been to provide Hoosier students and families with solutions to put higher education within reach. Connect with the College Planning Team: Phone: fb.com/ismcollegeplanning twitter.com/ism_collegeplan instagram.com/ismcollegeplanning pinterest.com/ismcollegeplan youtube.com/ismcollegeplanning Check out our event calendar we will be at a location near you! ISMCollegePlanning.org/event-calendar

3 GETTING STARTED 1 FREE help throughout the college planning process WHY COLLEGE? 2 The benefits of education PICKING THE RIGHT CAREER & MAJOR 3 Planning ahead pays off PICKING THE RIGHT COLLEGE 4 The right choice can save you lots of money PAYING FOR COLLEGE 5 Funding your education wisely THE FAFSA 6 Applying for financial aid SCHOLARSHIPS & GRANTS 7 Finding FREE money WORK STUDY & SAVINGS TIPS 8 Additional ways to fund your education EDUCATION LOANS 9 Be wise about borrowing JUNIOR & SENIOR CHECKLIST Stay on track NOTES 12 We have lots of FREE tools and resources for you on our website: ISMCollegePlanning.org

4 Need Help Getting Started? Visit ISMCollegePlanning.org and follow the Doing it Right checklist on the upper right corner of the home page. As you go through the list, make sure to contact us with any questions Let s Get Started! ISM College Planning will help you: Investigate the right career path Choose the right college for you Maximize FREE money like scholarships and grants Meet financial aid deadlines Understand options to fill any funding gap We ll provide you and your family with FREE resources and tips to help you make a plan for college and graduate with as little debt as possible. Ask questions at any time by ing us at Sign up for our e-newsletter for updates on key college planning topics and check points to keep you on track. ISMCollegePlanning.org/Mailing-List 1

5 Why College? More Job Opportunities 65% of jobs will require education beyond high school by (source: Recovery Job Growth and Education Requirements through 2020; Georgetown University) Higher Lifetime Earnings Over the course of a working lifetime a person with a 4-year degree will earn almost $1 million more than someone with just a high school diploma. Lower Unemployment Rate In addition to earning more money over your lifetime, you are also less likely to be unemployed. (See Chart Below) Personal & Social Development People with a college degree often make healthier lifestyle choices and give back to their community. Better Benefits Jobs for college graduates often offer better benefits like health insurance coverage and generous retirement plan options. Your Family s Future If you attend college, your children and even grandchildren are more likely to attend college as well. (See Chart Below) $1,639 $1,591 $1,101 $1,326 $488 $668 $741 $792 NO HS Diploma HS Graduate No College Some College, No Degree Associate Degree Bachelor s Degree Master s Degree Profess. Degree Doctoral Degree 6.0% 6.0% 4.5% 3.5% 2.8% 1.9% 2.1% 9.0% Median Weekly Earnings in 2014 Unemployment Rate in 2014 (Source: Current Population Survey, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) Follow us on Pinterest for more informative charts, infographics and photos from our events! pinterest.com/ismcollegeplan ISMCollegePlanning.org 2

6 Picking the Right Career and Major Free Money! So you ve decided college is for you, but what will your major be? One of the easiest ways to run up student debt is to spend extra years in college, Get started with the college planning process using informative tools and Scholarships & Grants typically due to changing majors. Researching resources found at and planning before college can lead to the ISMCollegePlanning.org/PickingMajor. selection of a career and major better suited The best way to pay for college money that does not have to be paid back! Free for you, while increasing your chance of money in the form of scholarships and grants is a key Skills component Matching: of paying for Career college. Discovery: graduating on time with less debt. Grants and Scholarships can come from the federal or state government, from schools themselves, from a private company, a person or a number of other sources. Remember to investigate each option as they may have different eligibility requirements. Simple Search Tips: It s never too soon to begin searching and applying for scholarships and grants. Balance your search and application time between local and national awards. Continue your search for scholarships and grants through college. Beware of scams. Never pay a fee to do a scholarship search, or give out financial information. Get organized with a binder and calendar to keep track of applications, essays and deadlines. Use strong writing more than once. That English paper you got an A on may help you to receive a scholarship. Free Scholarship Search Help: Having trouble getting started with your It s never too soon to start your search! scholarship search? Maybe you just need ISMCollegePlanning.org/PickingMajor some help brainstorming ideas for essays? ISM College Planning can help. us at or call us for free help finding scholarships. For Federal and State of Indiana Grants the most important thing to remember is to file your FAFSA by March 10! Check out ismloans.org/grants for a listing of the federal and State of Indiana Grants and requirements for each. Top FREE Search Sites: fastweb.com collegenet.com/mach25 collegeboard.com/scholarships 73

7 Finding a school that is the right fit can help you graduate on time and with less debt! Picking the Right College There are many great colleges to choose from right here in Indiana... how do you find the right one for you? Choosing the right college is a very important and personal decision. A great way to review the options available and start narrowing down your choices is with College Navigator. It s a helpful resource that provides insights into multiple areas of the college s: Programs & Majors Enrollment History Retention & Graduation Rates Costs & Financial Aid Campus Security Net Price Campus Visits: One of the most important steps of a thorough college search is visiting the campus so you can: Experience campus life Interact with professors and students Determine admission process and guidelines Discuss financial aid options and costs Check out ISMCollegePlanning.org/ChoosingCollege to start your search and see a list of questions to ask during your college search! ISMCollegePlanning.org 48

8 Paying for College So you ve figured out what career you want to pursue and which colleges offer programs in that field... Now it s time to work through how to fund your education wisely by maximizing FREE money, taking advantage of work-study opportunities and minimizing debt. Planning ahead can relieve the financial stress of going to college. The next sections of this guide will walk you through your funding options. We are happy to help! Phone: Visit our website for additional resources: ISMCollegePlanning.org Did you know that by completing at least 15 credit hours per semester you are more likely to graduate on time? 5

9 The FAFSA Applying for Financial Aid The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most important form to complete in the financial aid process. Determines eligibility for most sources of financial assistance: Federal, state and some institutional grants Scholarships Work Study Federal loans To be eligible for state of Indiana aid you must complete the FAFSA by March 10. Please note that your school may have an earlier deadline to be eligible for their aid. Make sure you know the deadlines and complete the form on time! MAR Circle this date: 10 State of Indiana FAFSA deadline For more information on the FAFSA, including: FAFSA Checklist Setting up your FSA ID After the FAFSA Checklist My taxes aren t done yet, so I can t do my FAFSA. Yeah, you can. Just use last year s taxes as an estimate and update it later. Visit ISM College Planning online: ISMCollegePlanning.org/FAFSA Never pay to file the FAFSA. It s free and easy to complete online at the official website: FAFSA.gov. ISMCollegePlanning.org 6

10 Free Money! Scholarships & Grants The best way to pay for college is to find money that does not have to be paid back! Free money in the form of scholarships and grants is a key component of paying for college wisely. It s never too early to begin searching and applying for scholarships and grants. Balance your search and application time between local and national awards. Identify deadlines and don t miss them. Get organized with a binder and calendar to keep track of applications, essays and deadlines. Add to your scholarship resume by getting involved, volunteering and being active in your community. Beware of scams. Never pay a fee to do a scholarship search, or give out financial information. Continue your search for scholarships and grants through college. Sources of Free Money: Federal & state government Colleges & universities Private businesses Community foundations & civic organizations Top FREE Search Sites: fastweb.com scholarships.com chegg.com/scholarships scholarshipexperts.com cappex.com/scholarships Having trouble getting started on scholarships? Check out ISMCollegePlanning.org/Scholarships. You can also connect with us at or We are always here to help! State of Indiana Grants Must file your FAFSA by March 10! Register for estudent after filing your FAFSA to monitor your state grant eligibility For a listing of state of Indiana grants and the requirements for each, visit ISMCollegePlanning.org/Grants. 7

11 Work-Study The Federal Work-Study program offers eligible students the opportunity to earn money part time while attending school Don t overlook the benefits of the federal work-study program as a way to help pay for college and avoid debt. Benefits of Federal Work-Study: Provides experience in your course of study or community service areas You earn money that can be used for education related expenses and help minimize debt Income doesn t count against you when you renew your FAFSA the next year Talk with the college(s) you plan to attend to discuss your options for work-study. Remember if you are offered work-study by the school, you must still apply for and receive the position. Looking for more about the Federal Work-Study program? Get the scoop at: ISMCollegePlanning.org/Work-Study Smart Money Choices During College: Set goals for saving If you can save a few dollars every week, set it aside for something like next semester s books. Take advantage of your meal plan Eat out as little as possible. Look for ways to make a few bucks Look for a tutoring job or maybe look off campus at helping an after-school program. Remember not to let this work interfere with your schoolwork. Track your expenses Write down everything you spend for a few weeks. You ll quickly notice some expenses you can cut back on. See what entertainment the campus has going on & participate Many campuses have free events for students like movie nights, concerts and even karaoke contests. ISMCollegePlanning.org 8

12 Not all loans are the same, but ALL loans must be repaid! For more information on loan options, check out: ISMCollegePlanning.org/ StudentLoans Education Loans As part of your plan for paying for college, education loans may be an option, but only after you have exhausted all FREE money avenues. Types of Education Loans: Federal Direct Student Loan - Subsidized - Unsubsidized Understanding the different types of loans and repayment options can help you to borrow wisely. Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) Private/Alternative Loan Have questions regarding your loan options? Connect with us at: or We are here to help! Student Loan Game Plan Want to see if your student loan debt after graduation will be manageable once you enter the real world? Check out ISMCollegePlanning.org/GamePlan for a unique online resource that helps you understand how over-borrowing to pay for college can affect your financial future. 9

13 Junior Year Checklist Fall: Talk with your counselor to find out if you are on track for college. Take challenging coursework, such as Dual Credit or AP Courses. Attend college fairs in your area to begin gathering information on colleges you have an interest in attending. Using a College Search tool like College Navigator ( is also a good place to start investigating different schools. Take the PSAT as a way to prepare for the SAT, which you will want to take in the spring along with the ACT. Make sure to save your schoolwork. Your English papers may help with scholarship applications or college admissions applications. Spring: Begin searching for scholarships and apply to any that are open to juniors. Talk to your counselor about scholarships as well as using online search engines like these: fastweb.com scholarships.com chegg.com/scholarships scholarshipexperts.com cappex.com/scholarships Look into taking the SAT, ACT or both. Remember that achieving a good score on these tests may reward you with more opportunities for grants and scholarships. Continue to research the schools you are interested in attending and begin to narrow the list down to 5-6 schools. Investigate college costs and use the net price calculator tool at to estimate your potential award eligibility. Write a resume and use it to apply for summer jobs. You may want to find a job that is related to your career interests. Your resume will help you as you begin filling out college applications. Summer: Save some money from your summer job for college. A little money in the bank now is less money you will need to borrow for college down the road. Visit college campuses. Make appointments with both the Admissions and Financial Aid Offices, attend some classes and spend the night if you can. Begin discussions with a trusted adult regarding options available to you for covering the cost of college. ISMCollegePlanning.org 10

14 Senior Year Checklist Fall: Narrow your list of college possibilities to 3-5. Collect the applications and make note of the school s submission deadlines. Schedule visits to the schools you are considering and make appointments with both the Admissions and Financial Aid Offices. Begin gathering recommendation letters for both scholarship and college applications. If you are looking to improve your scores or take the test for the first time, register and prepare for the fall SAT or ACT. Better scores may lead to better financial aid offers. Continue discussions with a trusted adult about the financial options available to cover college costs, as well as continuing scholarship searches online at: fastweb.com scholarships.com chegg.com/scholarships scholarshipexperts.com cappex.com/scholarships Winter: After January 1, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available at fafsa.gov. To be eligible for state of Indiana aid, the form is due at the federal processor by March 10. Note: Some colleges may have an earlier deadline. Continue searching for and applying for scholarships. In fact, keep looking for scholarships until you have graduated college. This is free money that doesn t have to be paid back, which means less you have to borrow. Follow up with the colleges you are applying to and confirm that they have received your Admissions and Financial Aid applications. Ask about any additional financial aid forms that may be required. Spring: Review your financial aid offers and compare costs. Use the simple College Cost Comparison Sheet available at ISMCollegePlanning.org. Confirm your federal, state and institutional eligibility for scholarships and grants. Use the After the FAFSA Checklist at ISMCollegePlanning.org for guidance. Check deadlines for sending in your required deposit, housing application, or any other forms requested by the school and remember to let the other schools know that you won t be attending. Finalize all financial aid avenues and complete all paperwork prior to orientation. 11 Want to come to an ISM College Planning event or get help completing your FAFSA? Go to ISMCollegePlanning.org/event-calendar for locations near you!

15 College Planning Notes: There are lots of ways to connect with us! fb.com/ismcollegeplanning twitter.com/ism_collegeplan pinterest.com/ismcollegeplan youtube.com/ismcollegeplanning instagram.com/ismcollegeplanning Phone: ISMCollegePlanning.org 12

16 A FREE Resource for Hoosier students, families, counselors and schools ISM College Planning N. Meridian St. Suite 200 Carmel, IN Ph:

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