Managing Your Costs

Stretch your financial aid further

You can take stronger control of your finances when you know more about how they work. Get familiar with the terms on this page, and also visit for additional ways to manage debt as you finance your education.

FAFSA facts

Many scholarship and financial aid options require you to have a FAFSA on file, so we recommend completing yours as soon as possible.

You’ve heard about the FAFSA—but what is it, and why should you submit one? Give us about two minutes and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Description of the video:

[video description: The IU logo appears on the screen, followed by the word “FAFSA.”]

Voiceover: You’ve heard about it. You know it’s important. But what exactly is the FAFSA, and what can it do for you? Keep watching, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

[video description: Title: “Everything you need to know about the FAFSA.”]

Voiceover: FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid,” and completing it is your first step in getting financial aid for college.

[video description: Graphic of a house. Roof pops open, and numerals and money symbols float in and out of the house.]

Voiceover: You’ll fill in your household’s financial information, which colleges will then use to determine your eligibility for scholarships, grants, work-study, or loans.

[video description: Timeline graphic, beginning with October 1 and ending with April 15.]

Voiceover: The FAFSA opens on October 1 every year. Our priority deadline is April 15, but we recommend completing it as soon as possible during your senior year.

[video description: Graphic of campus building with IU flag on top. Text: “Complete each year.”]

Voiceover: Once you’re a college student, you’ll need to complete the FAFSA each year to remain eligible for financial aid.

[video description: Graphic of computer screen. User types “FAFSA.GOV.”]

Voiceover: Ready to get started? Visit to create your Federal Student Aid ID, which is the username and password you’ll use throughout the entire FAFSA process.

[video description: Computer screen is replaced by smartphone, which displays myStudentAid app.]

Voiceover: You can complete your FAFSA online at, or you can use the myStudentAid app on your smartphone.

[video description: Graphic versions of Social Security card, bank statement, and tax form appear.]

Voiceover: When you’re filling out your FAFSA, make sure you have at least one parent or guardian with you, since you may need information like Social Security numbers, bank statements, and tax returns. It takes most families about 30 minutes to complete.

[video description: Graphic of analog clock showing passage of 30 minutes.]

Voiceover: To ensure that Indiana University Bloomington receives your information, be sure to list our federal school code: 001809.

[video description: Text: “IU Bloomington’s federal school code: 001809.”]


[video description: Graphic of “SUBMIT” button, with pointer hovering over it.]

Voiceover: Before you hit “Submit,” read over your information carefully to make sure you’ve answered everything correctly.

[video description: Pointer clicks the button, then turns into an icon of two clapping hands.]

Voiceover: Then give yourself a round of applause! You’re one step closer to paying for college. Watch for notifications from IU.

[video description: Graphic of envelope. Text: “Financial award notice.”]

Voiceover: We send Financial Award Notices starting in February.

[video description: Text: “Questions?”]

Voiceover: Questions? We’re here for you.

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Voiceover: Visit Student Central any time to find information, answers, and tips on financial aid and managing costs.

[video description: IU logo. Text: “Indiana University Bloomington.”]

Words to know

You might hear a lot of unfamiliar terms as you consider how you will pay for college. Make sure you know what each of them mean. It will help you better understand how to minimize your costs as you navigate your college journey.

Cost of attendance means the total cost of attending college—not just tuition, but also mandatory fees, housing, and other expenses.

Learn more

Calculated from information provided on the FAFSA, the SAI is the number used by a university to determine whether a student is eligible for certain types of aid.

Learn more at Student Central

Financial aid refers to many different ways to access money to pay for college. Scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study are types of financial aid.

Flat-rate tuition means IU Bloomington students can enroll in up to 40 credit hours across fall, spring, and our August and winter intersessions for the same cost. It’s designed to speed up students’ time to graduation and reduce their overall cost.

Learn More

Grants are awards from federal, state, or IU sources. They are often need based and do not need to be repaid.

Loans are money borrowed to pay for education costs. They must be repaid. Possible loan sources include the federal government or private lenders.

Need-based is a term used to describe funds given or lent to a student whose SAI is lower than the cost of attendance.

Scholarships are education funds awarded based on academic merit or other factors. Scholarships are not repaid and are sometimes renewable for more than one year.

Work-study is a need-based federal student aid program that provides funding for part-time employment—while a student is enrolled in school—to help pay education expenses.

Learn more

Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Managing Costs

See how IU students navigate the financial realities of college. 

Download the brochure

Ways to manage costs

  • Search for housing at IU based on what your budget will allow.
  • Explore campus jobs. Whether or not they qualify for work-study, students hold jobs in a variety of campus departments and organizations—often using their earnings to reduce the amount of funds they need to borrow.
  • Consider borrowing or renting textbooks, rather than buying them.
  • Check out MoneySmarts. Since 2012, this IU initiative has helped students cut their financial burden by almost 20 percent.

We’re here to guide you