We’ve pulled together some valuable resources and information to ease your transition to Bloomington and SPEA. Explore the links below or contact us in the Masters Program Office (MPO) if you need any additional information at (812) 855-2840—we're happy to help!
We're #1 ... again!The U.S. News and World Report graduate rankings for 2019 have SPEA as continuing to offer the #1 ranked MPA in the nation. We're #1 for Environmental Policy, Nonprofit Management, and Public Finance and Budgeting, #3 for Public Management and Leadership, #5 for Public Policy Analysis, #8 for Health Policy and Management, and #10 for Local Government Management.
- How to Accept your Offer of Admission
Deadline to Accept or Decline your SPEA Admissions Offer: May 1st
In order to accept your offer of admission, a $200 enrollment deposit is required to secure your space in the incoming class. The non-refundable enrollment deposit of $200 is a tuition prepayment and will be credited back to your bursar account during your first semester at SPEA.
Your enrollment deposit may be paid online through our secure site.
Space in SPEA’s fall class may be limited, so a timely response is strongly encouraged.
Please note, if you receive a merit aid offer, you must submit your enrollment deposit by April 15, 2018.
- About Bloomington
Broadway shows. Local coffee shops. Nature hikes. Eclectic dining. Street food. Gallery strolls. Whatever you’re into, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy here.
Indiana University and Bloomington are, in many respects, inseparable. Events start on campus and spill into the city. Festivals fill the city and get magnified on campus. And the natural wonders that surround both are enjoyed by all.
We've compiled a few helpful resources about living in Bloomington below to help you invision what your life might be like as a graduate student.
If you're new to Indiana or the midwest, keep in mind that the weather here can be extraordinarily unpredictable, so you'll need to prepare for all seasons, which could happen all in one day here in Bloomington.
When you arrive to campus in August, it will be hot, humid, and muggy, which usually lasts through September.
In October, autumn hits and the leaves begin to change color. The temperature begins to drop to a comfortable level with lower humidity. Many students say that this is their favorite season in Bloomington. Not only is the town vibrant with autumn colors, but the weather is delightful!
Winters in Bloomington have been relatively mild in the last several years, but temperatures can dip below zero, so make sure you come prepared for freezing temperatures and an Indiana blizzard or two. Winter typically lasts through March, but the coldest times tend to be in January. In the spring, expect lots of rain. Though there are many beautiful days on campus, you never know when a rain cloud may show up - it can be rather unpredictable.
Grocery and Shopping Options
The main supermarket in Bloomington is Kroger, which offers four locations throughout town. However, some students opt for Bloomingfoods, a Bloomington co-op that is committed to sustainable agriculture, local products, and delicious regional foods. If you're budget concious, which most graduate students are, Bloomington is also home to an ALDI. It's about a 15 minute drive from SPEA, but the prices are worth it.
Other Bloomington grocers include Lucky's Market, B-Town International Market, Sahara Mart, Tenth Street Market & Deli, Sam's Club, and Walmart. Oh, and don't forget about the Bloomington Community Farmer's Market, which should definitely be on your Bloomington Bucket List.
SPEA's Paul H. O'Neill Graduate Center, where you'll take most of your classes and study, has a kitchenette for graduate students to store their lunches, heat up their meals, and make coffee or tea.
If you're looking for shopping in Bloomington, your best option is College Mall, which has a Macy's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Old Navy, Express, Finish Line, H&M, Men's Wearhouse, and much more. Other local shopping hot spots include the town square, where different local vendors have quaint hometown shops, or the west side of town, which offers a Kohls, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Walmart.
Things to do in Bloomington
Where to Eat
You don't need to worry about going hungry in Bloomington - it's definitely a foodie's paradise. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of more than 400 eateries scattered across town. There are over 100 restaurants in the downtown Bloomington area alone, and many of them are independently owned and value a locally sourced culinary experience.
Local favorites include all of the ethnic restaurants on Fourth Street, alfresco dining on the town square, and pub food at Nick's English Hut or the Upland Brewery. The state’s largest winery and the first brewery in the region are located here, prompting a local industry that is high-quality.
What to Do
There is plenty to do in Bloomington, on campus and off. One day you might feel like renting a pontoon boat on Monroe Lake, the next day you might find yourself enjoying an opera or a stand-up comedy show.
There are dozens of theaters and concert venues at IU and across Bloomington such as the IU Auditorium, the IU Cinema, and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. There are more than 1,000 free musical performances on the IU campus each year.
Bloomington is famous for its Lotus World Music and Arts Festival—a yearly celebration of world music and arts. But that’s one of many festivals that take place all year long.
The year kicks off with the PRIDE film festival, which showcases the LGBTQA community and filmmakers.
From April to November, the Bloomington Farmers’ Market returns, bringing fresh produce and local music to downtown Bloomington in a festival-like atmosphere.
- Housing and Utilities
Where should I live?
While on-campus housing through Residential Programs and Services is available to graduate students, most of our master’s candidates live off campus. For the widest selection, make housing arrangements in April or May before the start of the fall semester. Options available in August will be limited.
If you are looking for a roommate to offset your cost of living, we’ll invite you to join an online discussion board this summer where all incoming SPEA graduate students can share information about housing accommodations and roommate requests after they’ve accepted their offer of admission.
- MPO’s housing guide - neighborhood guide and popular landlords
- Zillow Apartment Listings
- IU Classifieds
- Graduate & Professional Student Government Housing Resources
- Indiana Daily Student Rental Listings
Who do I contact for utilities?
You can find area providers - from telephone to water and more - along with other helpful hints on relocating to Bloomington in this guide prepared by Visit Bloomington. Make sure to talk with your landlord about their preference for utility providers in your area.Read the New Resident's Guide
- Transportation and Parking
Getting to Bloomington
If you are flying to campus, the nearest airport is the Indianapolis International Airport. The following shuttle companies provide transportation to and from the Indianapolis International Airport:
Getting Around Bloomington
At SPEA, we prioritize sustainable transportation choices like the bus, walking, and biking. Bloomington is a very biker friendly community, which is underscored by the Little 500 Bike Race - a campus event that we highly recommend putting on your IU bucket list. As an IU student, you can ride the IU Campus Bus or Bloomington Transit - our local bus system - for free with your CrimsonCard (student ID card). You'll get your CrimsonCard when you arrive to campus for new student orientation in August.
Like most other college campuses, parking is extremely limited, but if you choose to bring a car to campus, you can purchase a parking permit from the IU Office of Parking Operations. If you choose to live off campus, you may need to get a neighborhood parking permit for street parking. Need a car or rideshare? Try Zipcar or Zimride. Out late? Take advantage of IU's free safe ride services that run after dark.
More Maps and Guides
- Health, Wellness, and Recreation
The IU Health Fee helps pay for the Health Center which provides reduced rates for routine medical clinic visits, a health and wellness program, and other services including two free counseling and psychological visits per semester. This fee is not for health insurance.
In partnership with IU Health Center’s Counseling and Psychological Services, SPEA hosts a counselor-in-residence - Dr. Shelena Davis - who is at SPEA 20 hours per week offering counseling services, outreach, and programming.
Health insurance plans through Indiana University Human Resources are offered to international students, Student Academic Appointees (SAA), or IU School of Medicine and School of Dentistry students. If you are in need of health insurance as a garduate student, we recommend resources such as HealthCare.gov and the City of Bloomington's healthcare resources.
International Student Healthcare
All international students and scholars at Indiana University are required to have health insurance for themselves and their families. IU automatically enrolls all international students in an insurance plan administered by Aetna Student Health that provides coverage that meets IU’s minimum requirements. If you already have a health insurance plan that meets the minimum requirements, you may file a waiver so you do not need to purchase insurance through IU.
IU Recreational Sports
Full-time students can take advantage of IU’s Recreational Sports resources, including the Student Recreational Sports Center which offers sports and fitness activities including group exercise, yoga and pilates, strength and cardio equipment, basketball, volleyball, personal training, and much more. If team sports are more your speed, intramural sports are offered in everything from basketball to tennis to battleship. Intramural sports are a great way to make new friends, develop your mind and body, and learn new skills with opportunities in over 20 sports!
- Paying for Graduate School
There are many resources for securing funding - opportunities exist at SPEA, IU, and at national levels. At SPEA, we offer merit-based awards, assistantships, fellowships, tuition remission, and volunteer benefits to assist graduate students in financing their education. Available funding options vary by program, so we encourage you to see what options we provide for the degree program you are seeking.
MPA, MSES, and MPA-MSES Merit-based Aid
If you applied by our February 1st priority application deadline, you will automatically be considered for all SPEA merit-based aid awards. Academic and professional achievements, extracurricular and volunteer activities, recommendation letters, and responses to application questions are among the factors considered when selecting merit-based aid recipients. Decisions are made based on how your overall credentials compared to those of other applicants in that current year.
SPEA merit-based aid decisions are made separately from admission decisions. After our February 1st priority application deadline has passed, we begin making merit-based aid decisions. You will be notified of your selection for an award in mid-March.
MAAA Tuition Remission and Assistantships
All full-time Arts Administration students that have applied by the priority deadline are awarded a fee remission. The amount of fee remission is determined by the merit and need of each individual student. Students will receive their assigned fee remission for three on-campus semesters, provided they stay in good standing with the college (3.0 GPA) and continue in the program.
The Arts Administration program has partnered with local and campus arts organizations to create arts-based assistantships for graduate students. Graduate assistants are selected through an application and interview process with each organization. Positions range from ten to fifteen hours per week and are funded through the federal work-study program. In order to be eligible for an assistantship you must submit the FAFSA and qualify for federal work study aid.
SPEA, the IU Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA), and Bloomington nonprofit organizations and public agencies leverage Federal Work Study funds and collaborate to deliver the Service Corps program - available only to MPA and MSES students. Service Corps Fellows must be eligible for Work Study as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Qualifying Fellows have the opportunity to contribute to the public management, economic development, environmental policy, and human service needs of the Bloomington community and surrounding areas. Service Corps Fellows receive a merit aid package valued at $8,505 to $12,682 each year, based on residency status. To be considered, you must have expressed your interest on our Departmental Questions Form during the application process.
Military and Volunteer Benefits
We value the experiences that military and veteran students, Peace Corps alumni, AmeriCorps alumni, and Teach for America alumni bring to our classrooms and officially recognize your experiences with special financial benefits. For returned volunteers, you will receive a 3-credit hour reduction per year of service you completed (maximum reduction of 6 credits). A 3-credit hour reduction saves more than $1,500 for a resident and more than $3,500 for a non-resident.
For active duty and veteran students, SPEA will guarantee a reduction to in-state tuition rates provided you are not eligible for or not selected to receive an award through the Yellow Ribbon Program. SPEA will also award a minimum 6-credit reduction for Prior Professional Experience (PPE) for those with at least two years of active duty or full-time guard/reserve service OR four years part-time guard/reserve service. Up to a 12-credit reduction is possible if applicant can demonstrate significant managerial and leadership experience.
Need-based Financial Aid
Need-based aid may be used to supplement other financial assistance you receive. The criteria for receiving need-based aid for graduate students differs from the criteria used for undergraduate students. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (and a current or prospective grad student), you should apply annually for need-based aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Indiana University’s Priority Deadline: April 15
Applications after this date will also be considered.
Many students rely on loans and part-time employment to fund their graduate education. Students should complete the FAFSA after January 1 each year and as soon as they know they are considering going to graduate school. Admission is not required to complete this form, but no financial aid offer can be finalized until the student is admitted. The FAFSA can be completed online.
Student Central on Union
The Student Central Office at IU administers all need-baded financial aid, provides your school billing schedule and payment options, helps you estimate your cost of attendance, and assists with the course registration process. Student Central, not the Masters Program Office, also controls your residency status, which will be used to determine what tuition rates you'll be responsible for. Student Central is your one-stop shop for taking care of the business of being a student.