Skip page navigation

Financial Strategies and Options to Meet Family Responsibility for College Costs

Paying for college can be a challenge. Most students simply do not qualify for enough financial aid to cover the FULL cost of attending college. However, there are a number of strategies that families can consider to cover unmet college financial needs.

Borrowing Strategies

Families should limit student loan borrowing as much as possible. That said, student loans can provide families with the funds needed to cover educational expenses. Students are offered loans up to their maximum eligibility. This amount will be listed on the student’s Financial Aid Notification (FAN). Students can accept none, some, or all of the loan funds offered to them. We encourage students to accept only what they need to cover their expenses. Accepted less than the maximum and need more? Contact our office and we can help you access additional loan funds. Accepted too much? We can help you return the extra. Remember – loans most be repaid. But, federal student loans are available at relatively low interest rates and offer flexible repayment options.

An additional loan program that may be available to families that is not listed on the FAN is the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program. The PLUS Loan is an option for parents of dependent undergraduate students or graduate/professional students to borrow up to the estimated cost of attendance (less other aid received by the student). The PLUS Loan is credit-based, so the borrower cannot have adverse credit to be eligible for this loan. Click here for more information about the PLUS Loan program, interest rates and origination fees, and application procedures.

NOTE: If the parent of a dependent student is denied eligibility for the Parent PLUS Loan due to adverse credit, the dependent student is eligible for additional Federal Direct Loan funding.

Scholarship Strategies

Students who do well in school will maximize future scholarship opportunities as they progress through IUPUI. Scholarships can come from a wide array of sources, such as academic departments, the IU Foundation, or private organizations. Most scholarships require a separate application in addition to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The IUPUI Office of Student Scholarships is dedicated to helping students search and apply for scholarships throughout their IUPUI career and offers web resources that can help you explore scholarship opportunities.

Student Employment Strategies

Students can earn funds by working part-time while attending college. At IUPUI, we have an entire office dedicated to helping students identify rewarding student employment opportunities. The IUPUI Office of Student Employment provides resources and empowers students to find meaningful, academically relevant, part-time work experiences that enhance both academic and personal success. Working doesn’t have to interfere with getting good grades, but it does mean having to develop good time management skills. So, make sure to balance your work and school responsibilities carefully.

Savings Strategies

Families should recognize that every dollar saved for college expenses can help reduce student loan borrowing and financial stress. It is never too late to save for college. Commit now to saving money for college through summer employment, graduation gifts, and other sources. Many states offer college savings plans that provide investment options and tax incentives. For information about Indiana’s CollegeChoice 529 Savings Plan, click here. Families may also want to consider if it is appropriate to cash in available savings bonds or other holdings in order to help cover college expenses.

Payment Plan Options

Some families find that paying for all of their tuition, fees, and on-campus room and board expenses at the beginning of the semester is difficult. To make payments more manageable, the Office of the Bursar offers the Personal Deferment Option (PDO). With the PDO, your total tuition and fee charges are split into equal monthly payments that are made throughout the semester. The PDO option is presented to students when billing statements are issued. To learn more about the PDO, click here.

Additional Resources

Federal Student Aid - Department of Education website with information about federal financial aid opportunities

Learn More Indiana - Indiana Commission for Higher Education website with strategies for budgeting and paying for college

IUPUI College Budget Balancer - Tool to help you determine how your available financial resources compare to your expected educational expenses