According to The College Board's Trends in College Pricing 2012, the average charge for tuition and fees during academic year 2012-13 at two-year public colleges was $3,131 compared with $8,655 at four-year schools and $29,056 at four-year private institutions.
Use the financial aid options on this page as a starting point and remember to get the cheapest money first.
Contact the financial aid counselor at the community college of your choice to learn about the specific financial aid programs they offer.
Grants are money awards that do not have to be repaid.
Grants are available through the federal government, state agencies, and colleges.
Scholarship money does not have to be repaid.
Scholarships may be awarded for any number of criteria, such as academics, achievements, hobbies, talents, affiliations with various groups, or career aspirations.
Sallie Mae's free scholarship search provides access to more than 2.9 million awards, worth over $16 billion. Every time you log in or update your profile, a new search matches you with the latest scholarship opportunities.
Federal Work-Study is money earned by working.
This federal program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses.
- On-campus (work for the school)
- Off-campus (private nonprofit organization or a public agency)
Student loans involve money borrowed that must be repaid.
- Federal Stafford loans
- Federal Direct PLUS loans
- Federal Perkins loans
- Private student loans
- Military service: Programs offered by the U.S. Armed Forces can provide financial aid for college.
- Community service: Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and pay for your education.
- Loan forgiveness programs: Cancel all or part of an education loan under certain circumstances through various federal programs.
- Employer-sponsored tuition assistance: Your employer reimburses you for all or part of your tuition.