Indiana College Costs Estimator

What are the different Indiana diploma types and their implications for financial aid?

According to the Indiana Department of Education

A rigorous high school academic curriculum is the single most significant factor determining a student's success in college.

Implications for Financial Aid

Beginning fall 2014 some very important changes have occurred.  The state need-based financial aid awarding system allows eligible students to use the “Build Your Own Financial Aid Award” model starting with a Base Award and adding Incentive dollars on top. 

Base Award:   The amount you receive for the Base Award, if you qualify, is determined by a few factors, including your financial need (as determined by your Expected Family Contribution under the federal financial aid formula), the type of institution you’re attending (public, private, Ivy Tech or proprietary) and the amount of credit hours you are enrolled in (full-time is defined as being enrolled in 12 or more credit hours per semester).

Three Additional Incentives:  The Incentives Award System is designed to reward students who complete the more difficult level of coursework in high school, have academic success, further their education and complete their coursework in less time.

1)      Academic Honors Diploma or Technical Honors Diploma (+$800):  A student who is eligible for the Frank O’Bannon Grant and completes an Academic Honors or Technical Honors Diploma in high school, will receive an additional incentive of $800.  To receive the incentive in future years a student must remain eligible for the Frank O’Bannon Grant and maintain a cumulative college GPA of at least 3.0.

2)      Complete an Associate’s Degree First (+$800):  For students eligible for the Frank O’Bannon Grant, there is an $800 Incentive Award for students who first complete an Associate’s Degree and then continue on in a 4-year baccalaureate program at an eligible institution. 

3)      Accelerated Schedule Incentive (+$1,300):  For students who are eligible for the Frank O’Bannon Grant and who are accelerating the number of credit hours completed, a student may receive an additional $1,300 Incentive by completing at least 39 credit hours by the end of the first year and an additional $1,300 by completing at least 78 credit hours by the end of the second year.  By accelerating course completion the goal is to graduate in less time and with less debt.  AP and dual credit courses earned in high school may count (the college must certify them as college credit) towards the student’s credit completion requirements.

For complete details on the state grant program, click here.  


Depending on the college you attend and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the difference in high school diplomas could be thousands of dollars of state grant money for a 2-4 year program.

Below is a listing of the four Indiana diploma types

  • Core 40

    (Minimum 40 credits)

    Core 40 is the basic diploma type required for all Indiana students and is the minimum for college admittance at Indiana four-year public institutions. For a complete description of Core 40 Diploma requirements, click here.
  • Core 40 with Academic Honors

    (Minimum 47 credits)

    Core 40 with Academic Honors is a more rigorous program than Core 40, which is very appealing to colleges. Students are required to complete all the requirements for Core 40 in addition to taking fine arts credits, world language credits, and additional Core 40 math credits while maintaining a grade point average of a “B” or better.  For a complete description of the Core 40 with Academic Honors Diploma requirements,click here.
  • Core 40 with Technical Honors

    (Minimum 47 credits)

    Core 40 with Technical Honors is a more rigorous program than Core 40 and has a career / technical requirement of 6 or more related credits in the college and career preparation courses in a state-approved College and Career Pathway involving state-approved, industry recognized certifications or credentials, OR pathway dual credits from the approved dual credit list.  The students must earn a grade of C or better in courses that count toward the diploma and maintain a grade point average of B or better.  For all of the requirements for the Technical Honors Diploma, click here.
  • General

    (Minimum 40 credits)

    To graduate with less than Core 40, the following formal opt-out process must be completed:
    • The student, the student’s parent/guardian, and the student’s counselor (or another staff member who assists students in course selection) must meet to discuss the student’s progress.
    • The student’s Graduation Plan (including four year course plan) is reviewed.
    • The student’s parent/guardian determines whether the student will achieve greater educational benefits by completing the general curriculum or the Core 40 curriculum.
    • If the decision is made to opt-out of Core 40, the student is required to complete the course and credit requirements for a general diploma and the career/academic sequence the student will pursue is determined.

For a complete description of the General Diploma requirements, click here.