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State ups financial aid by $44 million

5 percent increase first in 6 years, largest since 1977

– The Indiana Commission for Higher Education on Tuesday approved raising the state’s maximum student financial aid awards for the first time in six years.

Indiana students will benefit from an increase of $44 million, or 5 percent, in state financial aid for this coming school year, the largest one-year increase since 1977, the commission said.

“Promoting student success through state financial aid incentives is key to increasing the number of Hoosiers with education beyond high school and maximizing Indiana’s return on investment in higher education,” Teresa Lubbers, Indiana commissioner for higher education, said in a statement. “We are pleased to be in a position to provide more financial aid at a time when earning a college degree has never been more important for Indiana students and our state.”

Qualifying Hoosier students who graduate from high school with a Core 40 diploma with either academic honors or technical honors can receive up to 100 percent of the maximum awards. Students with financial need who earn the standard Core 40 diploma will receive up to 80 percent. The maximum awards are $4,108 for public, four-year colleges; $7,410 for private colleges; and $3,420 for Ivy Tech Community College and for-profit colleges.

Awards are adjusted based on the student’s need as determined from information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The announcement is positive news for Ivy Tech students and the area, Ivy Tech Northeast Chancellor Jerrilee Mosier said.

“With 70 percent of our students receiving financial assistance, the decision from the commission is important as we remain committed to the big goal and 60 percent higher education attainment by the year 2025,” she said. “By increasing our educated citizen-base, our community will grow and thrive through developing, retaining and attracting talent to our workforce.”

Overall, financial aid funding represents about 18 percent of the state’s total higher education budget. The increase was made possible by the passage of the state’s two-year budget, which increased state financial aid by $75 million. In the next two years, the state is on track to spend about $636 million in student financial aid, the commission said.