FAFSA Open for 2021-2022 School Year
Apply for financial aid through April 15, 2021
Merrillville students and families are encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
With more than $350 million in state financial aid available, as well as billions of dollars in federal aid, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education reminds Hoosiers that filing the FAFSA by April 15, 2021 is imperative for securing money for college.
Filing the FAFSA is required for many of Indiana’s scholarship and grant opportunities, such as the 21st Century Scholarship and Frank O’Bannon Grant, and many colleges require a completed FAFSA to award merit and need-based scholarships. Students earning a variety of degree types – including short-term certificates, associate and bachelor’s degrees and higher – should file the FAFSA to take advantage of available financial aid.
The Commission recently released the 2020 College Equity Report, which includes data on Indiana’s college achievement gap progress and the workforce, shows that poverty has a direct impact on college-going rates, as only 38 percent of low-income high school graduates go to college – lower than the statewide average (61 percent), higher-income peers (68 percent) and low-income peers who are part of the state’s 21st Century Scholars program (86 percent).
Many Hoosiers fail to file the FAFSA by the deadline because they assume they don’t qualify for any state or federal financial aid. The reality is that there is considerable funding available, especially for those that demonstrate financial need. Filing the FAFSA on time is a surefire way to be considered for both state and federal aid opportunities, but you’d be surprised at how much aid is left on the table each year.
How to file the FAFSA
Students can file the FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov. The first step for students who have not previously filed the FAFSA is to create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. Then, each student will need:
- Social Security number
- Alien Registration number (for non-U.S. citizens)
- Federal income tax returns, W-2s and other records of money earned
- Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
- Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
The U.S. Department of Education provides email and live chat assistance for FAFSA filers as well as a helpline at 800-4FED-AID. Hoosier families can also find FAFSA help through INvestEd Indiana at www.investedindiana.org.
Applications now open for various teaching scholarships and stipends
Scholarship and stipend opportunities for aspiring teachers and education majors are also open. According to the Commission’s Equity Report, less than 15 percent of students studying for a teaching career in Indiana are non-White.
More information about the following scholarships and stipends is available on the Commission’s website:
- Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship – Provides up to $7,500 per year of college (up to $30,000 total) for top performing Hoosier students who commit to teaching in Indiana for five years after earning their degrees. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2021.
- Earline S. Rogers Student Teaching Stipend for Minorities – Open to minority students (defined as Black and Hispanic individuals) who will participate in student teaching or a school administration internship as part of their degree requirements.
- Student Teaching Stipend for High-Need Fields – Available to students planning to teach Special Education or math at either the middle or high school level. Eligible students can receive up to $4,000 per stipend, or $8,000 if awarded both.
For questions about state financial aid, students can contact the Indiana Commission for Higher Education by phone at 888-528-4719 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.