Obtaining a college education is one of the biggest goals in many young adults’ lives. Earning a degree opens up tons of job prospects and other opportunities that would never be possible with just a high school diploma.

They also say college can be a pretty good time. From meeting new people to experiencing things for the first (and often only) time – college is a once in a lifetime experience.

Though getting a college degree is one of the best things people can do for themselves, it doesn’t come without a price. In fact, for the 2016-2017 school year, the average student will graduate with $16,929 in student loan debt. Depending on your school and financial situation this number could be a little high or very low.

So how do millions of students pay for their higher education each year?

Well, the answer isn’t so simple.

There are a variety of ways to pay for college and many tactics and strategies to save as much money as possible when doing so.

This guide will go into these different ways to pay for college – including savings accounts, financial aid, scholarships & grants, and student loans. We will also explain, in detail, the best approaches to take when dealing with these different methods of paying for college.

As always, if you are ever confused about a specific section of this guide, or if you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us!

Without further ado, let’s get started.

The Cost of College

   Introduction

   Tuition & Fees (Video)

   Room & Board

   Books & Other Required Materials

   Technology

   Transportation

Steps to Paying for College

   Steps (Video)

Financial Aid

   Introduction

   Obtain a Federal Student Aid ID

   Gather Necessary Documents

   Submitting the FAFSA & What Follows

Scholarships & Grants

   Introduction (Video)

   School Scholarships & Grants

   Grants from the Government

   How to Find Private Scholarships

   Private Scholarship Application Tips

   Private Scholarship Essay Tips

   Private Scholarship Letter of Recommendation Tips

   How to Avoid Scholarship Scams

   Final Thoughts on Scholarships

College Savings Accounts - 529 Plans

   Introduction (Video)

   Pre-Paid Tuition 529 Plans

   College Savings 529 Plans

   When to Use Your 529 Plan

Student Loans

   Introduction (Video)

   What are Student Loans?

   Federal Student Loans

   Private Student Loans

   Smart Student Loan Borrowing In School

   How to Effectively Repay Your Student Loans

   Final Thoughts on Student Loans

Final Thoughts

College is often thought of as “the best 4 years of your life” and with good reason. You will have countless new experiences, meet more people than you could ever imagine, and have some of the most fun and stressful times of your life.

If you are worried about funding your higher education, just try and take a breath and develop a plan. This guide is a great starting point, and should at least give you a general idea of your varying options and how you should approach each.

If you have any questions about this guide or anything else, feel free to contact us and we would be more than happy to help!