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October 2021

Free FAFSA Filing Help Sunday, Nov. 7

To help families navigate the Free Application for Federal Student Aid application process, financial aid experts will be providing free assistance for college-bound students across Indiana during College Goal Sunday, Nov.7. 

Click here for information about local events scheduled from 2-4 p.m. at 38 locations.

The FAFSA is required annually to determine financial aid eligibility for college students or anyone planning on pursuing post-secondary education. The deadline to file for the 2021-2022 school year is April 15, 2022, and forms can be filed online at fafsa.gov.

Hoosiers attending College Goal Sunday need to bring completed 2020 federal income tax returns, W-2 Forms and other 2020 income and benefits information. A complete checklist of what to bring is available here. Participating students will also be entered into a drawing for a chance to win 1 of 5 scholarships worth $1,000 each.

Over the last 30 years, College Goal Sunday helped nearly 100,000 Hoosier students complete the FAFSA. If you are unable to attend a nearby event, a second College Goal Sunday is set for Feb. 27, 2022. More tips about filling out the FAFSA and common mistakes to avoid can be found online here.

Scholarships For Future Teachers

Over the course of their careers, teachers will impact the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of students. Indiana needs educators who are committed to mentoring and being role models for young Hoosiers.

Those with a passion for teaching are encouraged to apply for the Next Generation Hoosier Educator Scholarship. Students will receive $7,500 per year for up to four years to cover the costs of earning a teaching degree. Scholarship recipients must commit to teaching in an Indiana classroom for five consecutive years upon graduation.

Because a great teacher inspires all students to succeed, keeping the best and brightest in Hoosier classrooms is crucial to Indiana’s academic success. The Next Generation Hoosier Educator Scholarship program gives a financial boost to passionate future teachers and motivates them to stay in the state after graduation.

The scholarship is available to 200 students across the state who either graduate in the top 20 percent of their class or earn a score in the top 20th percentile on the SAT or ACT. Students must earn a 3.0 cumulative GPA and complete at least 30 credit hours per year to continue earning the scholarship in college.

Last year, 439 students applied for the scholarship, with applications from 231 high schools in 84 counties. According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, nearly three-quarters of applicants were Indiana high school seniors with the remainder comprised of current college students.

Future educators can apply before the Jan. 31 deadline at LearnMoreIndiana.org/nextteacher.

Protecting Victims Of Domestic Violence

Many Hoosiers face violence in their own homes and live in fear – often in silence – because of an abusive relationship. In fact, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence at some point in their lives.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and a new law in Indiana is working to better protect domestic violence victims who obtain protective and no-contact orders. In the past, these orders were not always followed and that’s in part because of the relatively low penalty for violating them. This year, state lawmakers increased the penalty from a misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony carrying a fine of up to $10,000 and prison time. Not only is this a stronger deterrent for criminals disobeying court orders, but it also gives law enforcement additional tools to keep Hoosiers safe and get abusers off the streets.

This enhancement is backed by public safety officers, including Evansville Sgt. Matt Karges (pictured center), who testified at the Statehouse in support of the legislation. He recently joined State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) (pictured right), chair of the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee and sponsor of the law, for a ceremonial bill signing. Other House sponsors of Senate Enrolled Act 79, which passed unanimously, include State Reps. Sharon Negele (R-Attica) and Mike Speedy (R- Indianapolis).

Domestic violence affects Hoosiers across the state, regardless of race, income, age or occupation. No person deserves to be physically or emotionally harmed, and help is available. To report an abusive relationship or find help, call the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence hotline at 800-332-7385. Resources and support are also available at icadvinc.org.

Improving, Expanding Broadband Services

The new Indiana Connectivity Program can help Hoosier residents and businesses experiencing slow or no internet service connect with broadband in their area.

Through the program, those without a quality internet connection can report their address and information using the Next Level Connections portal at in.gov/ocra/broadband/icp or by calling the Indiana Broadband Connect Center between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (ET) on business days at 833-639-8522.

This program will connect qualifying residents and businesses with broadband in their area, and help providers by assisting in the costs of extending service to those locations. To be eligible for assistance, a location must experience speeds of less than 25 Mbps (download) and 3 Mbps (upload).

Internet providers will review service requests and submit bids to the state to extend broadband to those eligible areas. The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs will evaluate bids and award funding. Funded projects must be completed in nine months. Hoosiers should know that submitting their location to the state does not guarantee service will be extended.

Thanks to the General Assembly’s efforts to pass legislation establishing the Indiana Connectivity Program, more unserved and underserved Hoosiers will have access to reliable, high-speed broadband internet service. For more information about the program and to apply for assistance, visit in.gov/ocra/broadband/icp.

Small Businesses Eligible For Pandemic Relief  

Small businesses are a vital part of the Hoosier economy, and the pandemic presented them many hardships throughout the last year. Employers worked diligently to keep their doors open and made large investments to keep employees and customers safe. Unfortunately, some are still trying to make ends meet and keep their doors open.

Hoosier entrepreneurs and small businesses continuing to recover from the impacts of the pandemic can now receive up to $100,000 through the Small Business Restart Grant program.

The deadline to apply for grants is extended to Nov. 15. These grants provide working capital to eligible companies by reimbursing certain expenses incurred during and related to the pandemic. The timeframe in which losses can be recovered, originally through May 1, 2021, is now extended through Oct. 31, 2021.

Businesses that already received a Small Business Restart Grant can reapply in order to reach the new maximum reimbursement amount of $100,000, but it’s important to note that expenses covered by a previous grant are not eligible for this second round of funding. Be sure to apply as soon as possible, especially as grants will be issued in the order received until funding is exhausted.

Our communities and state depend on small businesses, and as they continue to recover from the pandemic, these grants can help.

For more information on new and expanded eligibility requirements, and to apply, click here.

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