Behning: Tips and tools to get ready for school

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Friday, March 4, 2016 8:42 am

Tips and tools to get ready for school

Planning for college is often a daunting task. Thankfully, Hoosiers have access to several tools to help them prepare for future education plans. Learn More Indiana is a program provided by the Commission of Higher Education that offers a variety of helpful tips and free resources for K-12 students, current college students and returning students, including the Indiana College Costs Estimator. The Commission for Higher Education also sponsors contests and grant opportunities during each of its three annual Learn More Indiana campaigns throughout the year. I encourage all students and parents to look into these resources when applying or returning to school, by visiting www.learnmoreindiana.org.

Every spring, students planning to attend college in the fall fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is the single most important financial aid form for students applying to or attending some form of higher education institution. This application is required for students to be eligible for federal and state grants, scholarships and student loans. Most colleges, universities and vocational/technical schools nationwide use FAFSA to distribute this type of aid. To apply before the March 10 deadline, visit www.fsaid.ed.gov/npas.

As a parent and a grandparent, I have seen the challenges families face when paying for additional schooling. For those saving for their children’s or even their own future education plans, the College Choice 529 Direct Savings plan offers many features for students such as tax benefits, flexible investment choices and control over the assets. A College Choice 529 Direct Savings plan can grow investments in many ways, including allowing others to contribute to these accounts.

Another way the state is helping Hoosiers attain some form of higher degree is through the program You Can. Go Back.  It’s particularly geared toward adults who are no longer of traditional college age. Today, more than 750,000 Hoosiers have completed some portion of their higher education but have yet to complete a degree. The You Can. Go Back. program connects returning students with Indiana colleges to finish their certification or degree. For different reasons, people choose to halt their education. This program is designed to alleviate concerns many former students may have when considering the option to return to school. Colleges involved in this program have offered solutions including flexible class schedules, online courses, grants and scholarships, college credit for work and military experience and debt forgiveness. I was happy to show my support at the You Can. Go Back. press conference, where we learned how a local business is helping its employees obtain degrees and certifications through the program. To learn more about this opportunity, visit www.learnmoreindiana.org/adults.

Education is very important to me and ensuring students have access to high-quality educational opportunities is one of my top priorities. I hope Hoosiers will take advantage of these great programs and options when planning to further their education. If you have any questions or concerns over these resources or topics that we are discussing this session, contact me at h91@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9643.

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State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents

portions of Marion and Hendricks counties.