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Award notices contain information about a student's eligibility for state of Indiana financial aid awards. Eligibility is based on the data disclosed on the student's 2014-2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the approved tuition and regularly assessed fees at the college the student will be attending, the type of high school diploma the student earned and the number of credit hours the student has successfully completed. State financial aid awards may be applied only to tuition and regularly assessed fees. The financial aid office of a student's choice institution also is notified of the student's state financial aid status. STUDENTS DO NOT NEED TO CONTACT SFA TO ACCEPT OR REJECT THESE AWARDS.
SFA must have the correct institution on file to process an award. Awards will be calculated for only the first eligible institutions listed on the student's FAFSA. Failure to provide the correct college will result in the loss of your state financial aid award. If the incorrect institution is listed on the student's award letter, he or she should visit www.in.gov/che/eStudent to correct it immediately (also make sure that the chosen institution is listed on the FAFSA at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/). SFA will not accept institution correction requests by fax, phone or e-mail. All corrections must be received through the eStudent website allowing enough time for SFA to generate an award and the correct institution to claim the award on the student's behalf. Once a student submits the institution change, a revised award notification will be made available via the student's eStudent account and will be sent to the institution electronically. Changes made near the end of the term may not be received in time and a student's financial aid award could be lost. IT IS THE STUDENT'S RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THE CORRECT INSTITUTION IS LISTED.
General Eligibility Requirements (GERS)
There are four general eligibility requirements (GERS) for most full-time state financial aid awards and scholarships: (1) a student must show financial need according to program rules; (2) each and every year the federal processor must receive the student's FAFSA by March 10 and it must be edit/error-free by the SFA Correction Receipt Date Deadline of May 15; (3) the student–and his or her parent(s), if the student is a dependent student–must have been legal residents of Indiana by December 31, 2013 and remain so during the academic year; (4) the student must be a full-time undergraduate pursuing an associate or first bachelor degree, maintaining satisfactory academic progress and meeting relevant credit completion requirements. The student may not be in default or overpayment of a federal grant or loan and must meet the specific requirements of his or her chosen institution. If the student is considered a professional degree student (such as veterinary medicine, pharmacy, optometry or law), he or she may be eligible for state aid depending on the specific program specifications.
Award Amount Variation
The award amounts provided on a student's award notification are based on approved tuition and regularly assessed fees at the chosen institution, which may be less than actual charges and may be different for students enrolled in evening, accelerated, adult, state-wide technology or similar programs. Since tuition varies from one institution to another, the student's award will be adjusted to reflect such variations if he or she changes the chosen institution. Award amounts listed on the award notification are the maximum the student can receive at the chosen college. Awards may change as a result of verification performed by the institution or SFA, enrollment or other tuition specific funding the student may be receiving. All awards are subject to the availability of state and federal funds and may be reduced at any time.
The award amounts listed on a student's award notification are annual amounts and may be used during the fall, winter, spring or summer terms of the academic year. Some awards may be for one term only due to prior award usage (see Eligibility Period) or program requirements.
Required Enrollment (Tuition by Credit Hour)
The award amounts listed on a student's award notification are based on 30 hours of enrollment per academic year or 15 hours per semester (or the equivalent at trimester and quarter institutions). At institutions that charge by the credit hour, students enrolled in at least 12 but less than 15 credit hours per semester will have their awards reduced if the actual tuition falls below the approved tuition used to calculate the award. For example, if the student's term award at 15 hours is $3,000, the term award at 12 hours could be reduced to $2,400. The student's institution will make the adjustment. Students enrolled full-time at colleges that charge a flat fee for enrollment in 12 credit hours to 15 credit hours will receive the maximum award amount. Some institutions charge a flat fee but others charge by the credit hour if students enroll in evening, accelerated, adult, state-wide technology or similar programs.
Dropping/Withdrawing from Classes (SFA Refund Period)
State financial aid awards are awarded to eligible students based on the assumption that they will attend college full-time for the entire term. If a student is enrolled less than full-time, he or she cannot receive any of the state grants listed on the award notification (see NGSG and State Part-time grant for exception). If a student drops classes or withdraws from college, the state award can be reduced or taken away, even after the college has credited it to the student's bill. The measure of whether or not a student is enrolled full-time is taken at the end of the SFA refund period, which is the first four weeks of classes or the institution’s refund period, whichever is shorter. If a student drops classes resulting in less than full-time enrollment or withdraws completely before the end of the SFA refund period, he or she cannot receive any state financial aid award listed on the award notification. A student must be officially enrolled full-time at the end of the SFA refund period. If after the shorter of the SFA refund period or institution refund period, a student drops one or more classes so as to be enrolled less than full-time or if the student withdraws completely, the state aid must be reduced to reflect the new reduced tuition if the institution refunds money based on the change in enrollment. Students should contact the chosen institution for information about its refund period and policy.
State financial aid award recipients are restricted to four (4) year of any combination of state awards. A student is not permitted to receive grants from the state once he or she reaches this limit or if the student fails to meet the General Eligibility Requirements (GERS). To view award history, student's should visit www.in.gov/che/eStudent and click the “Award History” tab. For students first enrolled for the 2011-2012 academic year or thereafter, students must use their state financial aid within eight (8) years of their first use of the aid. For example, if a student first uses state aid in 2012, after 2020, he or she will no longer be eligible.
Higher Education Awards and Freedom of Choice Grants
The Frank O’Bannon Grant program includes several awards. Award funds for students attending public or proprietary colleges are called the Frank O’Bannon Higher Education Award. For those enrolled at private colleges, award funds are called the Frank O’Bannon Freedom of Choice Award. Students must meet the GERS and remain enrolled full-time to receive funding.
Academic Honors Incentive
Students who graduate from an eligible Indiana high school with an Academic Honors or Technical Honors diploma may be eligible to add an additional financial aid incentive of $800 to the base Frank O'Bannon Grant in their first year of state aid eligibility. Graduating from high school with these diploma type designations does not guarantee financial aid. Students must meet the requirements of the Frank O'Bannon Grant program in order to receive this additional financial aid incentive. In order to receive the Academic Honors Incentive after the first year of state aid, a student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students who first received state of Indiana financial aid prior to the 2013-2014 academic year may be eligible to receive the grandfathered Academic Honors Incentive. More information about base and incentive awards is available HERE.
Associate Degree Incentive
Students who earned an associate degree prior to enrolling in a baccalaureate degree program may be eligible to add an additional financial aid incentive of $800 to the base Frank O’Bannon Grant. The institution the student is attending to pursue a baccalaureate degree must report receipt of the associate degree to SFA. Earning an associate degree before enrolling in a baccalaureate degree program does not guarantee financial aid. Students must meet the requirements of the Frank O'Bannon Grant program in order to receive this additional financial aid incentive. Students who first received state of Indiana financial aid prior to the 2013-2014 academic year may be eligible to receive the grandfathered Associate Degree Incentive. More information about base and incentive awards is available HERE.
Accelerate Schedule Incentive
Students who are on track to earn a degree on an accelerated schedule may be eligible to add an additional financial aid incentive of $1,300 to the base Frank O'Bannon Grant. Eligibility for this incentive is based on a student's enrollment date and successfully complete credit hours. Students must earn a cumulative total of at least 39 credit hours by the end of the first year to receive the incentive in the second year and must earn a cumulative total of 78 credit hours by the end of the second year to receive the incentive in the third year. Earning a degree on an accelerated schedule does not does not guarantee financial aid. Students must meet the requirements of the Frank O'Bannon Grant program in order to receive this additional financial aid incentive. More information about base and incentive awards is available HERE.
21st Century Scholars Scholarship
Affirmed 21st Century Scholars must graduate from an eligible Indiana high school with a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. (Beginning with the graduating high school class of 2015, all Scholars must earn a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.) In addition to the GERS, students must abstain from criminal activity and the illegal use of controlled substances including alcohol. Students graduating from high school prior to 2012 must enroll full-time at an eligible Indiana college within two (2) years of graduation. Those graduating in 2012 and thereafter must enroll full-time at an eligible Indiana college within one (1) year of graduation. A FAFSA must be filed each year, even if the student is not attending college. Failure to meet these requirements will result in loss of the scholarship. Claiming an award for which the student is not eligible will permanently disqualify the student from receiving state financial aid awards.
Credit Completion Requirements
Students who receive state financial aid (Higher Education Award, Freedom of Choice Award, 21st Century Scholarship and State Part-time Grant) for the first time during the 2013-2014 academic year or thereafter will be required to meet certain credit completion requirements to renew state financial aid awards in subsequent years. More information about the credit completion requirements is available HERE.
2013 Carry-Over Award
State financial aid is awarded on an annual basis and students have a full 12 months to complete the required number of credit hours to renew aid in the following year. As such, if a student first used a state of Indiana financial aid award during the spring 2014 term (or its equivalent) or filed an appeal to establish that aid was only used during the fall 2013 term, that student will be provided with the second half of this first year award during the fall 2014 term (or its equivalent). The student must complete the required number of credit hours by the end of that term in order to receive the full 2014-2015 second year award beginning with the spring 2015 term.
NGSG: National Guard Supplemental Grant
In addition to meeting the GERS and being within the Eligibility Period, National Guard Supplemental Grant students must be on active drilling status in the Indiana Air or Army National Guard (Guard) and must not have been absent without leave during the twelve (12) months prior to their enrollment. The Guard must certify students as “eligible” prior to the start of classes each term before the grant can be applied to students’ financial aid awards. Grants can be applied toward certain tuition and fees only at Indiana public colleges (see the SFA eligible institution list at www.in.gov/sfa/2334.htm).It can be used for full-time or part-time enrollment.
Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship
Students graduating at least one (1) year early from an Indiana publicly-supported high school (defined in IC 21-12-10-1) may be eligible to receive a one-time, $4,000 scholarship to attend a SFA-approved eligible higher education institution. The money may be used toward tuition and regularly assessed fees.
State Part-time Grant Program
At some institutions, students enrolled less than full-time may be eligible for a Part-time Grant. Restrictions apply. More information about this program is available HERE.
EARN Indiana Program
If a student is awarded the Frank O’Bannon Higher Education Award, Frank O'Bannon Freedom of Choice Award or 21st Century Scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year, he or she may be eligible to participate in the EARN Indiana program. EARN Indiana provides students with financial need with resume-building, experiential, paid internships while employers receive state matching funds in exchange for hiring these students. More information about this program is available HERE.
Want Aid For 2015-2016?
The 2015-2016 FAFSA must be received at the federal processor no later than March 10, 2015 and must be error free by May 15, 2015.