When it's time to pay for school, there is a simple path to follow in securing the money you need. It's as easy as our 1-2-3 approach to paying for college.
1. Use “free” money first
Look for financial aid that does not have to be repaid, like scholarships and grants. Be sure to fill out the FAFSA to see if you qualify for need-based federal grants. Then, consider supplementing with your current income and money saved through a college savings plan. Finally, if your school offers one, explore a tuition payment plan — an interest-free monthly installment option that helps you better manage the cost of education.
Our free Scholarship Search provides:
- Access to an online database with more than 3 million scholarships
- Automatic enrollment into our monthly $1,000 scholarship drawing*
- Timely tips for planning and paying for college
2. Explore federal student loans
Explore federal student loan programs, which offer fixed interest rates and flexible repayment options. For most federal loan programs, you can qualify regardless of financial need.
3. Fill any gap with a responsible private student loan
Private student loans can help cover the rest of your college costs. Securing a creditworthy cosigner may help you qualify or reduce your private student loan interest rate.
Sallie Mae has helped more than 30 million Americans pay for college since 1972. We encourage students and families to supplement savings by exploring grants, scholarships, and federal student loans before they consider a private student loan.
Other Helpful Tools
Our Education Investment Planner® is a powerful planning tool that can help guide you step-by-step through the college funding process.