Preparing for college can be stressful, but there are lots of resources from both federal and state governments that can help you decide if college is right for you, and if so, how to finance your education.
College.gov shows you how to avoid scams targeted at college students as you learn the best ways to fund your education. You can also find the best college to fit your goals, find tips for preparing to take the ACT and SAT exams and college prep advice based on your current year in high school.
Federal Student Aid
Three main types of financial aid are available – grants, work-study programs and federal loans. The Department of Education offers tips on preparing for college, setting money aside in advance and repaying loans once you’re out of school.
529 plans are qualified tuition plans to help you pay ahead of time for a college education. With 529 plans, you have two options – the prepaid tuition plan or college savings plan. The prepaid tuition plan locks in your tuition rate before you attend college but only covers tuition and fees. The college savings plan doesn’t have a locked in rate, but covers tuition, room and board, fees and books.
Other State Resources
Many states offer their own scholarships and grants. Your college’s financial aid office is the best source of information about these state programs. The Department of Education also provides a list of state agencies that can help with financial aid.