There are many ways to finance your child’s college education. While you may be unsure of how you will pay for it, there are many resources to help you get the information you need.
Before your child applies for college
- Start saving early! The Ohio Tuition Trust offers a special savings plan called College Advantage. Click here to visit FinAid!'s page about saving for college.
- Educate yourself and your child about avoiding financial aid and scholarship scams. Read FinAid!'s page on financial aid scams by clicking here.
- Look for scholarships in your community. Check with your child's guidance counselor, the local library, community organizations and local businesses.
- Educate yourself and your child on the different types of financial aid, like scholarships, grants and loans.
- Don’t let cost stop your child from going to college! There are many cost effective ways to attend college, such as starting at a community college and transferring to a four-year institution. Talk with a guidance counselor about options. The earning power and opportunities your child will gain from a college degree makes the investment worthwhile.
During the application process
- ALWAYS apply for financial aid, even if you think you won’t be eligible.
- Help your child create a schedule to keep track of all application, financial aid and scholarship deadlines (they may be different, even at the same school).
- Call the financial aid offices at the colleges your child is applying to. Ask about scholarships or financial aid programs specific to the college. Use the College Board's "Ten Questions for the Aid Office" to find more questions to ask.
- File your taxes as soon as possible during your child's senior year. You must do this before you and your child fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Schools use the FAFSA to determine your child’s financial aid award.
- If you can, complete the FAFSA online. It is faster and it checks your application for mistakes.
- Apply for financial aid as soon as possible. Some schools have a limited amount of aid to give out. The longer you wait, the less you may get.
After your child is awarded
- Compare your child’s awards with the cost of the schools to find out the real cost.
- If your child wants to attend one school but received more financial aid somewhere else, ask the school they want to attend if they can match the other school's award.
- Maximize the federal student loans you are eligible for before taking out private loans. Federal loans have better terms and interest rates.
Financial Aid Resources
Below are some online resources for financial aid. You can also call the Ohio College Access Information Hotline at 1-877-I-ATTAIN (1-877-428-8246) or the Federal Student Aid Information Center hotline, 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
College Advantage: A 529 Savings Plan
With College Advantage, families can save for their children’s college education using direct deposit or automatic payroll deduction. Savings are tax deductible and can be used at any college in the country. Click here to find out more about College Advantage.
College Board for Parents: Pay for College
The College Board offers resources for financial aid, including cost and financial aid calculators, scholarship ideas and a financial aid planning tool. Click here to visit the College Board Web site.
This site provides information on scholarships, loans, military aid, applications and more. It includes financial aid calculators and an "Ask the Aid Advisor" feature. Click here to access this site.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The FAFSA is the starting point for your child’s financial aid application. The FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. In addition, most colleges and universities also use the FAFSA to determine non-federal aid. Click here for more information on the FAFSA.
Sallie Mae is the nation's leading provider of student loans and administrator of college savings plans. The company primarily provides federal and private student loans for undergraduate and graduate students and their parents. The site contains a wide range of financial aid planning information. Click here to visit the Sallie Mae Web site.
State Grants & Scholarships
When paying for college, University System of Ohio students have a number of ways to lower the cost of sticker price tuition. One way is to secure a financial aid package offered by the state of Ohio. Click here to visit the Ohio State Grants & Scholarships Web site.