Plan ahead and save

Not sure where to start? Know the process so you can make smart decisions at every step.

Our online College Planning Center gives you the tools to navigate a number of these key steps. Simply log in to explore our calculators, scholarship searches, and more.   

1. Make a college savings plan

We believe planning leads to saving. Use college preparation tools to inform your decisions. If you're graduating soon, use tools to compare the cost of colleges or to pave the way for your dream job. If you're years away, design a savings plan that meets your goals.      

2. Submit the FAFSA  

The Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) gathers information about your finances to determine your eligibility for financial aid. Submit the FAFSA before every school year, beginning on Oct 1st. 

3. Search for scholarships           

Begin searching for private scholarships early. Our advice – borrow less. There's no reason to borrow more than you have to. Go after money that never has to be paid back. 

4. Review your award letter  

After you're admitted to a college, you’ll receive a financial aid award letter that outlines your eligibility for grants, financial aid, work study, federal loans, and more. When you’ve selected a college, sign the paperwork to accept the aid package and keep track of payment deadlines. 

5. Apply for a loan to fill the gap      

Private student loans can fill the gap when your financial aid package doesn’t cover the full cost of tuition, books, and housing. Estimate these remaining expenses, research your options, and apply for a loan that makes sense for you and your family.