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SFA's Higher Education Award and Freedom of Choice grant programs are directed at Hoosier students enrolled on a full-time basis. An identifiable percentage of students who are enrolled less than full time have a need for financial aid toward completion of a degree. SFA established a program that helps degree-seeking part-time students who have demonstrated a commitment to pursuing a higher education at Indiana public or independent colleges. The program was expanded in 2000-2001 to allow students seeking certificates at Ivy Tech Community College to receive awards.
This program is designed to encourage part-time undergraduates to start and complete their Associate or Baccalaureate degrees or Certificates by subsidizing part-time tuition costs. It is a term-based award unlike those of Frank O'Bannon Grant (formerly the Indiana Higher Education Grant) Programs (the HEA and FOC Programs), which are offered as full-time annual awards. It is specifically designed to help those undergraduates who are taking at least 2 but less than 12 credit hours per term at an eligible institution. The students must meet State residency requirements, have filed a FAFSA and otherwise qualify for State aid. The part-time grant is a need-based award. The minimum award is $50 per term. Program eligibility is determined at the institutional level subject to approval by SFA. First priority for the award is given to students meeting certain income guidelines.
Although the award can be granted for all terms in an academic year, it is calculated and awarded on a term by term basis where the number of terms are those subsidized by SFA in an academic year, ordinarily two or three. The award is calculated in the same way as the basic Higher Education Grant using an 80% tuition subsidy rate. Institutions are allocated a fixed amount of money to award each year.