Online Colleges in Indiana
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Colleges and universities in Indiana offer some of the most affordable tuition rates in the nation, and they continue to expand distance learning opportunities. Reaching Higher, Achieving More, Indiana's strategic plan for higher education, provides a roadmap for increasing educational attainment and college graduation rates by 2025, with the goal of doubling the number of college degrees awarded. This initiative encourages the expansion of Indiana's online college programs, supporting efforts to broaden access and affordability throughout the state.
With over 175 public and private institutions, Indiana offers many options for online learning at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This guide presents information that prospective students should consider before deciding which of Indiana's online college programs best suits their needs. It provides information about the employment outlook for degree holders, with career and salary projections, as well as college costs, financial aid possibilities, and other resources for students.
Job Outlook for Students With College Degrees in Indiana
College graduates enjoy an advantage in the job market over those with only a high school diploma. By 2020, approximately 65% of all jobs in the U.S. will require a postsecondary education. Of these positions, 35% will require at least a bachelor's degree. The percentage of Indiana residents over the age of 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher ranks below the national average at 24.6%. The projected demand for a college-educated workforce exceeds the supply in Indiana across almost all occupations. The fastest growing and highest paying jobs in the state require a college degree, including those in managerial, STEM, education, and healthcare fields.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports an unemployment rate of 3.5% for Indiana, which is below the national average of 3.8%. While the annual salary for Indiana workers trails behind the U.S. mean, a postsecondary degree leads to more opportunities and higher earnings. According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, college graduates earn over $1 million more than those without college degrees over the course of their working lives. In 2016, Indiana residents with an associate degree or higher earned an average annual salary of $43,623, compared to $18,359 for workers with only a high school diploma.
Unemployment Rate, August 2018
Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
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Cost of Online Colleges in Indiana
Tuition rates for public and private four-year institutions have increased by 15% since 2010. Although educational costs vary by school, Indiana's affordable tuition rates make it an appealing option for online and campus-based students. While in-state tuition at two-year community colleges ranks above the national average, Indiana's tuition rate at public four-year schools falls below $10,000 per year.
Some private and public institutions offer lower rates for distance learning credits. However, after figuring in all educational expenses, students generally spend about the same amount for their education at on-campus and online colleges in Indiana. Some online schools add a technology fee, and many campus-based programs charge an activities fee, even if students do not attend any events. Students must budget for books and supplies, although a few of Indiana's online college programs provide laptops and course materials.
While Indiana offers an affordable cost of living compared to the rest of the country, students attending a traditional on-campus program must cover meals, lodging, and transportation expenses. Online students save on these expenses, and many keep full-time jobs while in school due to the schedule flexibility of online programs.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in Indiana
Because tax revenues from state residents fund public education, state-sponsored colleges and universities offer reduced tuition rates for in-state students. Public institutions generally charge significantly higher rates to out-of-state students.
Indiana's affiliation with the State Authorization Reciprocal Agreement makes it easier for students to enroll in online programs at public and private institutions in several other states, reducing costs and increasing access. As part of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, many Indiana postsecondary schools participate in the Midwest Student Exchange Program, a reduced tuition exchange agreement that enables students from eight states to pay a discounted or in-state tuition rate at Indiana schools. In turn, Indiana residents may enroll in participating schools in any of these states, paying no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate at public institutions, or receiving a 10% tuition reduction from private institutions.
Average Tuition and Fees, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year In-State||Public Four-Year Out-of-State|
Source: The College Board
Financial Aid in Indiana
Online learners in Indiana benefit from the state's efforts to make higher education affordable. Indiana ranks fifth in the U.S. for need-based awards per undergraduate full-time equivalent enrollment, distributing over $335 million in grants for the 2016-17 academic year.
Distance learners usually qualify for the same financial aid opportunities as campus-based students. As a first step to securing financial aid, prospective students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for federal grants and loans. The FAFSA also establishes eligibility for some state and college-based aid. To qualify for federal aid, students must attend one of the accredited online colleges in Indiana recognized by the Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.
Indiana's Commission for Higher Education offers a centralized web-based resource, ScholarTrack, to help prospective students and their families navigate the financial aid process, beginning in seventh grade and continuing through college completion. The site coordinates several scholarships and awards for Indiana residents, including the state's two primary financial aid programs: The Frank O'Bannon Grant, a need-based award, and the 21st Century Scholarship that encourages low-income and middle-income students to plan for and attend college. ScholarTrack also offers a college cost calculator.
State Grant Aid per Full-Time Equivalent Undergraduate Student, 2016-17
Source: The College Board
Scholarships and Grants for Indiana College Students
Students enrolling in any of Indiana's online college programs should investigate institutional and privately funded sources of assistance. Scholarships and grants, unlike loans, do not need to be repaid. Online students should check with prospective schools to learn more about financial aid requirements, merit-based award availability, and scholarships for targeted groups, including students entering specialized fields and members of underrepresented groups.
Who Can Apply: Sponsored by the Pacer Foundation, this scholarship provides support to undergraduate students enrolled in any accredited four-year institution or community college in Indiana. Applicants must major in physical therapy, athletic training, or a related discipline.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship is for three nontraditional populations: adults with dependent children, college-age students and adults with physical disabilities, and 18-25 year olds raised in the welfare system. Students must attend either Indiana University/Purdue University or Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis.
Amount: Tuition plus s $2,500 living allowance
Who Can Apply: High school seniors planning to study at an accredited public or private institution in Indiana may apply for this scholarship. Candidates must have at least a 2.0 GPA, demonstrate extreme financial need, and show an interest in community service.
Who Can Apply: High school or college students seeking to earn teacher certification in Indiana may apply. Recipients must agree to teach for five years at an eligible Indiana school or repay the corresponding, prorated amount of the scholarship.
Amount: $7,500, renewable
Who Can Apply: Children of deceased or disabled veterans can use this award to attend a public postsecondary institution in Indiana. Recipients receive funding for 124 credit hours or less; benefits may be applied to both undergraduate and professional programs.
Amount: Up to 100% of tuition and fees
Who Can Apply: This scholarship provides support for African-American and Hispanic students planning to teach in an accredited Indiana school. Recipients must agree to teach in the state for a minimum of three years.
Who Can Apply: One of Indiana's primary student aid programs, the Frank O'Bannon grant assists Indiana residents pursuing an associate or bachelor's degree at an accredited in-state school. Students must complete the FAFSA to determine financial need.
Who Can Apply: The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Management awards this grant to Indiana residents studying in a field that leads to employment in physical asset management. Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement and involvement in cocurricular activities.
Who Can Apply: Sponsored by the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers, these merit-based scholarships support Indiana students seeking careers in several engineering specialties. Applicants must be juniors or seniors in an EAC/ABET-accredited institution in Indiana.
Who Can Apply: The Indiana Commission for Higher Education awards this renewable grant to high school students participating in the Scholar Success Program. Applicants must complete the state's Core 40 diploma with a GPA of 3.75 or higher and plan to attend an eligible Indiana college.
Amount: 100% of tuition and housing costs
Best Majors for Online Students in Indiana
Most government indicators point to a promising occupational outlook for Indiana. The state's top industries, which includes manufacturing, financial activities, education, and healthcare, are expected to see steady growth. Many fast-growing occupations require a college degree.
Graduates with a bachelor's degree or higher can expect to find the best job prospects in STEM fields, like software development and operations research; in business areas, including marketing analysis and financial management; and in healthcare at all levels, especially nursing.
According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, registered nurses rank at the top of the state's fastest growing and highest paying jobs, with a projected growth of 17% through 2022. As Indiana moves to increase the number of college degree holders and meet projected workforce shortages, the state offers more opportunities for online education, particularly in computer science and STEM, business administration, and nursing.
Computer ScienceA computer science major prepares students to enter some of Indiana's fastest growing and highest paying careers in fields like operations research, software development, systems analysis, and computer engineering. Students take required courses in data structures, algorithm design, programming languages, and operating systems. Elective classes might focus on artificial intelligence, computer graphics and vision, robotics, cryptography, databases, or network analysis.
Business AdministrationThis versatile major provides many career opportunities, including high-demand positions in financial management and market research. Core courses in a business administration major cover marketing, management, organizational behavior, finance, and accounting. Students also acquire a strong background in business law and ethics. Most programs require courses in research methodology and statistics.
NursingThe projected shortage of registered nurses (RN) in Indiana underscores the value of a bachelor's of science in nursing, a prerequisite for RN licensing. Students in a nursing major learn about the administration of medication and treatments and how to assist a physician during examinations. Nursing students often choose specializations that require additional credits in fields such as critical care, oncology, geriatrics, and neonatal nursing.
Resources for Online College Students in Indiana
Indiana College Network: ICN, sponsored by Vincennes University, helps students gather information and enroll in online programs at regionally accredited universities across the state. The website allows users to search for undergraduate and graduate offerings, online certificate and licensure programs, and continuing education courses. It also provides helpful resources for high school students and others about admission and registration procedures.
TransferIN Indiana: The official transfer credit guide for Indiana students, TransferIN, provides an updated list of 88 pre-approved courses for transfer among Indiana public colleges and universities, and six independent postsecondary schools. It offers tools and resources for high school students, military students, and nontraditional learners. Students can also send transcripts electronically to any school worldwide through its free Indiana eTranscript service.
Learn More Indiana: Administered by the Indiana Commission on Higher Education, this megasite provides an expanding set of resources for students, parents, teachers, counselors, and employers. It provides information on college readiness, financial aid, college saving plans, and career guidance. It also provides virtual tour links to several Indiana colleges and universities.
Indiana Intern.Net: This resource provides students with a searchable database of almost 800 internships in a variety of fields and locations throughout the state. The majority of internships are paid and some students may receive academic credit for their internship experience. Employers may receive up to 50% in matching wages for interns they hire through Indiana's Employment Aid Readiness network.
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