Financial Aid and Scholarships Office Updates

Questions about your financial aid?  We encourage students and parents to contact Cardinal Central via phone at 765-285-2222 or 800-227-4017 or email at

You may now submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-25 year. The availability was temporarily delayed by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) for the 2024-25 aid year due to a new process being implemented. The FAFSA website is having a few issues due to the new launch and ED is publishing updates at the following link 2024–25 FAFSA Issue Alerts | Knowledge Center

Financial Aid helpful resources:

  • Students who receive an award notice may want to review the guide "Understanding Your Award Notice."  This helpful guide prepared by our office provides further detail about the information in each section of your award notice.
  • Unsure if you have done everything you need to do in order to complete your financial aid?  Review our “Financial Aid Checklist” to see if you’ve missed any steps along the way.
  • Do you have questions about your 21st Century Scholarship, O’Bannon Higher Education Grant, or other State of Indiana financial aid program?  You can check your state award status through the ScholarTrack web site.

Additional resources:




IS HOW MUCH THE AVERAGE Ball State STUDENT BORROWS (compared to $35k U.S. average)


of ball state graduates are paying loans back on time

Calculate Costs

Enter estimates of your family's income and your academic information into our Net Price Calculator to get a better idea of the financial aid and out-of-pocket costs involved in attending Ball State. Or you can use our Scholarship Calculator to quickly see some of the awards you may be eligible for.

Explore Your Options
Types of Financial Aid

Ball State administers financial aid resources from federal, state, institutional, and private student aid programs. Please see the sections listed below for more information and details about these aid resources.

Grants are funds that are usually based on financial need. Most grants do not require repayment. You are automatically considered for most types of aid, including grants, when you file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You need to file a FAFSA every year you are in college. The deadline each year for filing the FAFSA and for most grants is April 15.

Learn more about grants

Scholarships are financial aid awards often based on talent, academics, service, or leadership. However, need-based scholarships also exist. You do not have to repay scholarships.

Learn more about scholarships

Financial aid loans are low-interest loans for students or parents. You must repay these. To qualify for federal loans, you must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You need to file a FAFSA every year you are in college.

Learn more about loans

The Ball State Career Center can help you locate on-campus or off-campus work.

Federal Work-Study provides undergraduate and graduate students with part-time employment during the school year. The U.S. government pays some of the student’s salary, which helps departments and businesses hire students.

Learn more about student employment

Ball State University works with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the state of Indiana to process veterans education benefits.

The Ball State Office of Veterans Affairs and Veterans Benefits can assist you in determining your eligibility.

Learn more about veterans benefits

Along with grants, scholarships, loans and employment, there may be other types of assistance available to you.  This additional assistance includes fee remissions, vocational rehabilitation, tuition discounts, and aid for student-athletes.

These additional types of assistance may be based on specific criteria, and may require additional steps.

Learn more about additional types of assistance

Ball State is pleased to provide its Net Price Calculator as a guide to assist in early financial planning for college.

This tool uses federal methodology to provide a preliminary, nonbinding estimate of federal, state, and institutional aid eligibility—including Post 9/11 GI Benefits for eligible veterans and active duty service members. The calculator was created to help families gauge what financial aid students may be awarded and to make arrangements to cover the cost of college attendance.

Before You Begin...

  • Disable any pop-up blockers.
  • Have your latest tax return(s) and W2s available. You will be asked to enter your information.
  • Review the information you submit, as the calculator is only as reliable as the information entered.

Please note this calculator is for estimates only, and the actual award package will vary, depending on time of year, regulatory changes, and availability of funds. Ball State's Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will make the final determination for the award package.

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Calculate Your Financial Aid

Financial aid eligibility may change each year due to the federal, state, and institutional regulations. This estimate is calculated using current regulations and/or policies. Work Study funding is not guaranteed. Work Study will only be awarded to eligible students if funding allows. The PLUS Loan option is available to help families cover both their EFC (expected family contribution) and any “gap” not covered by financial aid. State aid determination is made by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE). Any outside aid received may alter the estimate provided by the calculator.

Many factors are considered when determining your eligibility for student financial aid. Some of these factors are encountered during the initial application process. However, there are situations beyond the application process that can result in an increase, decrease or loss of financial aid.

Eligibility for most financial aid is contingent on your financial need. Need is the difference between the cost of attendance and your expected family contribution.
From the information you supply on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), your Student Aid Index (SAI) is a formula-based index number ranging from –1500 to 999999. Where your SAI falls within the SAI range helps your school determine how much financial support you may need.  A negative SAI indicates you have a higher financial need. For example, if you have an SAI of –1500, you’ll qualify for a maximum Pell Grant award assuming you have not exhausted your lifetime amounts and meet all student eligibility requirements. Learn how the SAI is calculated.

Your SAI is not

  • a dollar amount of aid you’ll receive,
  • what your family is expected to provide, or
  • your final financial aid offer. 

Your SAI is an index number used by financial aid professionals when creating an aid offer. Your SAI is calculated using information that you (and other contributors, if required) provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. 

Since you are the prime beneficiary of the college education, you (and your parents, if you are dependent) are expected to contribute toward meeting your educational costs. Part of your income and assets is considered to be available to pay for educational expenses during the award period.

In order to be considered for financial aid, you must

  • have a Social Security number
  • be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident
  • have a high school diploma or GED
  • be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible degree, certificate, or license program
  • make satisfactory academic progress
  • not owe a refund on a Federal Pell Grant, Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART), or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • not be in default on a Federal Perkins Loan or Federal Direct Stafford Loan
  • not have borrowed more than the allowable limit under those loan programs
  • sign a statement of educational purpose agreeing to use your student aid only for education-related expenses

Federal verification regulations require institutions to check the accuracy of information supplied by students applying for federal financial aid. As a result, you and your family may be asked to supply additional information in order to verify original data supplied in your application for financial aid.

Failure to respond to requests for verification or other additional information requests will jeopardize your current and future receipt of financial assistance.

Federal Programs

Verification procedures must be completed, or you will not be eligible to receive most federal funds, including:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  • Federal Work-Study
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loans

State Programs

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) requires that all students selected for federal verification meet those requirements before receiving funds from the:

  • Indiana Frank O’Bannon Grant
  • Indiana Evan Bayh 21st Century Scholars Award
  • Indiana Adult Student Grant
  • Indiana National Guard Supplement
  • Child of Veterans and Officers Fee Waiver
  • State of Indiana scholarship programs.

State aid deadlines for completing verification are November 1 for fall and April 1 for spring.

University Programs

Verification requirements apply to the:

  • Fees Assistance Grant
  • Ball State Grant

Students must complete verification at least one week prior to the end of their enrollment period or the end of the academic year (whichever is earlier) to receive a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work Study or Federal Direct Loans.  

Your initial award package will be determined assuming full-time enrollment status:

  • 12 hours or more each semester for an undergraduate
  • 9-11 hours each semester for a graduate

This is reflected in the original award notification, which outlines the types and amounts of aid to be received for the period of enrollment. However, your actual financial aid award package depends on the number of hours for which you are registered.

If you plan to enroll for less than full-time in either semester, please notify our office.

Your Cost of Attendance and financial aid will be adjusted accordingly.

Enrollment Reviews and Adjustments

Enrollment will be checked each semester prior to disbursement of financial aid. Certain types of aid will not be disbursed if enrolled hours do not coincide with the hours for which the financial aid was awarded. If you are enrolled less than full-time at the conclusion of the drop/add period, and your financial aid has already been disbursed, you may need to repay a portion of what you received.

Indiana program guidelines require that you maintain full-time enrollment during the first four weeks of each semester. Less than this will result in the cancellation of your award.

We recognize that the FAFSA may not always accurately reflect your financial situation and/or dependency status. Although considerations for specific situations are limited, we may be able to give additional consideration for certain situations as described below.

  • Special Circumstances refer to the financial situations that justify an aid administrator adjusting data elements in the Cost of Attendance or in the EFC calculation.
  • Unusual Circumstances refer to the conditions that justify an aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation, more commonly referred to as a dependency override.

A student may have both a special circumstance and an unusual circumstance. Financial aid administrators may make adjustments that are appropriate to each student’s situation with appropriate documentation.

Special Circumstances

Special Circumstance Requests will be considered after you receive your initial award notification for the current aid year. After reviewing your special circumstance documentation, your aid package may remain the same, be increased, or reduced according to the financial information that has been submitted. Submitting a special circumstance request does not guarantee an adjustment will be made to your aid package.

Decisions are final and will be communicated directly to the student. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to see if your situation can be considered. If approved, any additional funding awarded is only available for the academic school year for which the special circumstance is approved. Special circumstances must be requested and reviewed annually. Please do not submit documents unless instructed by our office.

Examples of Special Circumstances Considered

  • Loss or reduction of income (layoff, illness, forced reduction of hours, temporary employment, etc.)
  • Catastrophic medical or dental expenses
  • Death, divorce, or separation of parents or spouse
  • Loss of benefits, such as unemployment, disability, social security, veterans, child support, or alimony

Examples of Special Circumstances NOT Considered

  • Increase of standard living expenses
  • Purchasing material items such as a car, home appliances, vacations, second homes, etc.
  • Reduction of assets. Changes in assets will be reflected on the following year's FAFSA.
  • Credit issues, line of credit changes, previous student loan debt, etc.
  • Medical bills paid by health insurance or that will be reimbursed by health care coverage.
  • Siblings or parents who are also attending college.

The appropriate Special Circumstance form is available by request only. If you feel you have a special circumstance, contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for further guidance. The recommended date to submit a complete request for Special Circumstance consideration is April 1 of the applicable aid year. 

The Department of Education does not permit processing special circumstance requests past the period of enrollment. Requests and documentation may be submitted after April 1 however they might not be processed depending on volume and time. 

Unusual Circumstances

Unusual circumstances may be considered for a dependency override after you file your FAFSA. A dependency override does not guarantee an adjustment will be made to your aid package.

Decisions are final and will be communicated directly to the student. Please do not submit documents unless instructed by our office.

Examples of Unusual Circumstances Considered

  • Victims of human trafficking
  • Refugee or asylee status
  • Parental abandonment or incarceration
  • Abusive family environment
  • Parents are incapacitated
  • Both parents became deceased after filing the FAFSA
  • Unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless

Examples of Unusual Circumstances NOT Considered

  • Parents do not claim you as a dependent on their tax return
  • Parents are not helping you pay for college
  • No longer living with parents (unless due to one of the unusual circumstances listed in the section above)

If you believe you have an unusual circumstance that impacts your dependency status, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships as soon as possible after submitting your FAFSA.

In determining whether you are independent for the 2019-20 academic year, our office is required to adhere to the standard definition of “independent status” as outlined by the U.S. Department of Education. According to this definition, you will be considered an independent student if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • were born before Jan. 1, 2001
  • are married at the time of filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  • are a graduate or professional student
  • are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training
  • a veteran of the U.S. armed forces
  • a student with children or other people (excluding your spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you now and between July 1, 2024 and June 30, 2025
  • were in foster care, an orphan (no living biological or adoptive parent) or ward of the court at any time since you turned 13
  • are or were an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence
  • are or were in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence
  • were determined by your high school or school district homeless liaison to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless at any time on or after July 1, 2023
  • were determined by the director of an emergency or transitional shelter, street outreach program, homeless youth drop-in center or other program serving those experiencing homelessness to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless at any time on or after July 1, 2023
  • were determined by the director of a TRIO or GEAR-UP program to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless at any time on or after July 1, 2023
  • in very limited circumstances a financial aid professional may override a student’s dependency status. Exceptions must be made on a case-by-case basis and must be based upon documented extenuating circumstances such as abandonment by parents or an abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety. Contact our office for instructions.
Students who qualify as independent are not required to provide parents’ information on the FAFSA. Our office may request additional documentation to verify that you are independent.

An applicant who is a permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen must provide documentation of that status to receive federal student financial aid funds.

Primary confirmation: This documentation may be provided automatically through the results of a match with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) records. If your status has been confirmed, no other documentation is required, and eligibility for federal aid has been established.

Secondary confirmation: If the primary confirmation is not received, you must submit one of the following documents to our office in order to establish eligibility:

  • a valid birth certificate
  • a valid U.S. passport
  • Certificate of Citizenship (Forms N-560 or N-561)
  • a Certificate of Naturalization (Forms N-550 or N-570)
  • a Form FS-240, FS-545 or DS-1350
  • a completed Form G-641
  • a Lawful Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551 since 1997)
  • an Alien Registration Card (Form 1-151 before 1997)
  • a Conditional Permanent Resident and a Conditional Green Card (Form I-551C)
  • an Arrival Departure Record (I-94) with designation Refugee, Asylum Granted or Parolee
  • a T-visa holder or Cuban-Haitian Entrant
  • a letter from DHHS indicating you are a Victim of Human Trafficking

Within 15 working days, the information will be mailed to the USCIS for secondary confirmation. USCIS must respond within 15 working days. If USCIS does not respond, our office will document that USCIS exceeded the time allotted, and we will determine eligibility on the basis of the secondary confirmation and in accordance with federal regulations.

Deadlines: You will meet eligibility requirements for federal aid as long as you submit the documentation and the secondary confirmation is determined at least one week prior to the end of your enrollment period or the end of the academic year (whichever is earlier).

It is important for you to know that your academic standing and progress impacts your financial aid status. In particular, you need to know how the following items may affect you:

  • satisfactory academic progress
  • withdrawing from individual courses
  • withdrawing from all courses
  • unofficial withdrawals
  • Return of Funds Policy
Learn more about Satisfactory Academic Progress and Maintaining Aid Eligibility

Federal regulations affect the ability to award financial aid for courses that you have already taken. You can receive financial aid:

  • to repeat a course that has already been passed (D-minus or higher) only one additional time; attempts beyond that will not be eligible for financial aid; this applies even if you earn a failing grade (F) or withdraw (W) during the second attempt.
  • as many times as necessary to repeat a course in which the only previous grade earned has been a failing grade (F)
  • even if a passing grade has been earned for certain repeat courses due to different subject matter being studied in each term
All courses previously taken, even if financial aid was not used, are compared against the current semester to determine if it is a repeated class and whether it can be paid for using financial aid. Your financial aid may be recalculated if you take a class that is not eligible for financial aid. This policy does not provide exceptions if the repeat courses are taken to meet plan of study grade requirements, i.e. a grade of C or higher must be earned to count toward your major.

Refer to the links below to find out more information about:

Financial Aid Overview

Learn about award notifications, payments to students, taxes and federal regulations, and the responsibilities of receiving financial aid.

Managing Student Loans

Learn about loan counseling and promissory notes, repayments and consolidations, and a web tool we offer to help you manage your loans.

Change in Financial Circumstances

See what you need to do if you or your family encounters situations affecting your financial situation, such as death, divorce, or employment loss.

Maintaining Financial Aid Eligibility

To continue receiving financial aid, you need to meet certain expectations for your academic performance. There is also an appeals process, should you want to challenge any action against you. If you withdraw from courses, that can also affect your financial aid situation

Grievance Procedure

Do you want to formally resolve an issue with the awarding, continuation, or termination of your financial assistance? Then follow this process.

Many scholarships are based on talent, academics, service, or leadership. However, need-based programs also exist to assist students.  Ball State offers a wide variety of scholarships of its own and several of our academic departments award funding to students in their programs.

Begin Your SCHOLARSHIP Search

The Bursar's Office

Check Out Cardinal Central

Ball State's newest, student-focused service center for updating class schedules, requesting transcripts, managing their eBill, accessing financial aid information and services for 21st Century Scholars, Veterans Affairs and help with a total withdrawal. Walk-in services are available in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. visit

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Our financial aid and scholarships specialists can help guide you through the process of financing your Ball State experience.

Cardinal Central

L.A. Pittenger Student Center
Across from Starbucks and the Tally Food Court
2000 West University Avenue
Muncie, IN, USA 47306

M-Th     7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Friday   8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.