How To Pay For College

  • Identifying how you will finance your education after high school is one of the most common concerns for students and families. Costs are associated with every type of postsecondary education, whether you are pursuing a technical or trade certificate or a degree. Here is some insight on how you can start planning to fund your future right now!   

    Understanding Financial Aid 

    Technical schools, trade schools, and colleges all offer financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of education. Understanding the types of financial aid available is of the utmost importance so that you have the information you need to make the best decision for both you and your family.    

    If you're applying to 4-year colleges, you do want to make sure you apply by the financial aid priority deadline to be considered for school-specific financial aid. For many 4-year colleges, this can be as early as November 1st of your senior year. 

    Types of financial aid

    Considering a 2- or 4-year college? Here are questions to ask financial aid counselors when you meet with the schools.     

    Financial Aid Award Letters

    Colleges will send you a financial aid award letter after you've been admitted. This is a letter outlining how much a school will cost and the kind of financial aid package you'll receive for a student's first year. 

    All financial aid award letters do not look the same, but they contain the same general information:

    • Grant, Scholarships, Work-study, Federal student loans
    • Cost of attendance (COA) - an estimate of what you can expect to pay for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and personal expenses for one year
    • Expected Family Contribution (EFC), an index number that colleges use to determine financial aid eligibility
    • The remaining amount, or funding gap, that you’ll have to make up from other sources.

    Bring this to your College & Career Counselor to explore what that means for how much you'll be expected to pay for college.