Your 5 Step Guide to Paying for College

Estimate your education costs, understand the different options to pay for them, and become more financially ready for college.

5 Steps

1. Complete your FAFSA
Submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for access to more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds available for college.

2. Apply for scholarships
Visit TFS Scholarships for access to over 7 million scholarships worth over $41 billion.

3. Estimate and compare your total costs
Use the Net Price Calculator (NPC) at each college’s website to estimate your total college costs at that school based on your personal situation. Then, compare the costs, options, and opportunities at different schools.

4. Determine if you need additional money
Once you get an early estimate of your costs and receive award letters from schools you’re considering, you can determine your actual college costs. Your award letter outlines how much you can expect in grants and financial aid from a school based on your FAFSA. Evaluate each award letter carefully to see how your expenses may vary from one school to another.

5. Explore additional financing options
Your family’s circumstances and preferences will help determine what options may fit your situation. Crunch the numbers and, if needed, apply for additional financing to help pay for college.