Paying for your future education is more than just writing a check or signing a loan agreement. See how getting good grades and succeeding in school now will help you pay for college.
Every step countsNo matter where you are in your education, what you’re doing now sets the foundation for the next step. Make a commitment to do your best every day, and learn how getting good grades gives you for more options—and money—for college.
Merit aidDid you know your good grades could literally earn you more dollars for college? Scholarships and grants—money you receive for college that you don’t have to pay back—fall in two categories. Need-based aid is determined by how much you or your family is able to pay for your college education. Merit aid, on the other hand, is awarded to students who have distinguished themselves academically, artistically, athletically or in some other area.
Even for merit aid based on extracurricular activities, there is often a grade-point average (GPA) cut-off. For example, some scholarships only accept applications from students with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Don’t miss out on these free funds because you slacked off in school!
Need-based aidYour family’s income, or another disadvantaged status such as being a foster child, may qualify you for need-based financial aid. It’s tempting to think that if you qualify for need-based aid, you won’t have to worry about your grades. Not true. If you don’t push yourself to succeed now, you won’t do well in college, either. That’s why Indiana includes academic requirements for need-based grants and scholarships.
- Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program requires students to graduate high school with a 2.5 GPA.
- Students who are eligible for Indiana’s need-based Frank O’Bannon Award can receive an increased award designation by earning a Core 40 diploma with Academic or Technical Honors. Honors diploma recipients must earn an overall GPA of B or higher and a C or higher in courses that count towards the diploma.
- All need-based aid requires that you make Satisfactory Academic Progress in college. That means you’re earning enough credits each semester and maintaining the required GPA to continue receiving financial aid. Practice earning good grades today — it won’t get easier in college!
Succeed in school
Make a commitment to yourself today to do your best in school. Ask for help when you need it, and read our tips on succeeding in school to make sure you are on top of your game.
- Do your homework. Doing your homework will help you keep up your grades and develop your skills for test time. Working on problems or reading a little each day will keep the ideas fresh in your head. You’ll do better on standardized tests like the ISTEP+ if you do your homework, too.
- Pay attention. If you are tempted to talk to friends or daydream when your teacher is talking, come up with strategies to stay focused on your learning. Take notes or sit at the front of the class. You may need to talk to your parents or teacher if noisy friends are a big problem.
- Study. Don’t plan on just remembering everything before a test. You probably won’t remember as much as you think you do. Schedule time the night before a test to review the material. Take a learning style assessment to discover how you learn best. You may find that your best strategy is making flashcards or saying things out loud.
- Eat right. Making healthy food choices can help you learn better. No one can concentrate on an empty stomach! Always eat breakfast. Avoid eating a lot of sweets, especially right before a test. Watch out for sugary drinks, too. You don’t want your “sugar high” to crash right in the middle of an important exam. You can learn more about nutrition at the federal government’s ChooseMyPlate.gov site.
- Get enough sleep. Your body—including your mind—won’t function right if you don’t give yourself enough sleep. Missing a TV show for an extra hour of sleep is worth it. You will be able to pay attention better and will find it easier to remember what you’re learning in school.