Financial Aid

How to pay for education
after high school

Managing the costs of college can seem overwhelming, but Learn More Indiana is here to help get you connected to the right resources, learn about the many ways to pay for college and figure out how to make your education dreams a reality.

Here, you’ll learn about the different types of college costs and how to pay for it, including financial aid, scholarships, grants and so much more. Just remember: You’re not alone!

piggybank icon

How much does education + training after high school cost?

Going to college doesn’t just mean the cost of tuition that schools tell you up front. It’s a mix of many different things, all of which cost money. Your costs will change by where you choose to attend school and how much you spend on general expenses, but when you learn how much you’ll have to spend, you’ll be able to plan for the future more easily.

Tuition & Fees

These are the basic costs for college that pay for your classes and related mandatory fees. Tuition and fees represent about 38% of the cost of college.


These costs cover where you’ll live. This could include on- or off-campus housing, and takes up about 41% of the total you’ll spend on college, on average.


Books & Supplies

You’ll need these for classes, but they aren’t included in your tuition and fees. These are going to be roughly 6% of your college costs.


Transportation & Other costs

You’ll also need to plan on the miscellaneous things you spend on regularly — clothes, travel and other things like that. This is estimated at about 15% of your total spending in college.

lightbulb brain icon

Financial aid options

Financial aid is money to help you pay for college. Learn More Indiana works to connect students to all types of aid including grants, scholarships, work-study and loans.

What is FAFSA?

The Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most important document for determining if you’re eligible for financial aid — money to help you pay for education and training beyond high school. The easiest way to file the FAFSA is online at the FAFSA website. The website also provides a printer-friendly PDF if you prefer to mail your FAFSA.

After you file your FAFSA, your college will be able to tell you which scholarships and grants you could receive as well as how much money you can borrow in federal loans.

To find out more about the FAFSA, including what kinds of state financial aid is available, check out our FAFSA guide for Hoosiers. Remember: You should never pay to file the FAFSA. It is a free process.

Need help applying for financial aid?

INvestEd is Indiana’s trusted partner in helping families before, during and after college by showing them how to maximize FREE money and graduate with the least amount of debt possible.

Need help filing the FAFSA? Confused about financial aid options? Worried about student loans? Call an INvestEd team member at 317-715-9007 or send them an email. Also, check out their Event Calendar to see if they’ll be at a location near you.

How can I get a scholarship?

Did you know that your good grades could earn you more dollars for post-high school education and training programs? Scholarships, grants and institutional aid ­– money you receive for college that you don’t have to pay back – fall into two categories:

Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based aid is awarded to students who have distinguished themselves academically, artistically, athletically or in another area. Even for aid based on extracurricular activities, grades matter. There is often a grade point average (GPA) cut-off for these. For example, some scholarships only accept applications from students with a 3.0 or higher GPA.

Need-Based Scholarships

Need-based aid is influenced by how much you or your family can pay for your college education. Things like your family’s income, or another status such as living in a foster home, may qualify you for need-based financial aid. If you qualify for need-based aid, you’ll still have to keep up with your grades – Indiana includes academic requirements for need-based grants and scholarships.

What about student loans?

There are a lot of options to help you manage the costs of college in Indiana, but sometimes loans are necessary. Over half of Indiana graduates (57%) have student debt.

The average monthly loan repayment is $448 for bachelor’s degrees and $333 for associate degrees. When you compare student loan debt to other types of debt – like $1,000 a month for an average monthly mortgage payment or $600 a month for a new vehicle loan – it’s important to remember the value you receive from your education will continue to pay off for you over your lifetime.

Not all loans are the same. In fact, there are several types of loans, including: Federal Loans, Private Loans, Subsidized Loans, Unsubsidized Loans

For more information on the types of loans available and how to determine what’s best for your journey, visit the Learn More Indiana page about student loans.

College Savings Accounts

Put your savings to work for you by opening an Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan. It only takes $10 to get started, and your account grows, free of taxes.

Withdraws for education expenses are also tax-free. Plus, Indiana taxpayers are eligible for a state income tax credit of 20% of all money contributed to a Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan account, up to $1,000 credit per year. You can turn that money into another Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan deposit, and another tax credit for the following year to really watch it grow.


Classroom Worksheets

College Go! Bulletin Board Kit