Paying for College

Paying for CollegeThere are hundreds of websites that purport to offer families advice about the complicated issue of financial aid for college. Not all of them are truly helpful. Not all are accurate. Some of them attempt to steer you to particular lenders. NACAC has compiled this list of trusted, up-to-date sources to help your students and their families navigate this process.

Department of Education (ED)

The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS)

  • College InSight: College-level data (totals and averages for states, institution types, and other groupings of colleges) on college affordability, diversity, and student success.
  • IBR Info: Income-driven repayment plans (Income-Based Repayment, Pay As You Earn, and Revised Pay As You Earn) and public service loan forgiveness information. 
  • Project on Student Debt: Multiple resources including a report on and map of student loan debt and the most recent class of four-year graduates, a summary on current loan limits and interest rates, student loan tips for recent graduates, and questions students should ask about private student loans.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  • Paying for College: Tool for students to compare college costs and financial aid offers and information about student loan repayment options.

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)

National College Attainment Network (NCAN)


  • DecidED: A college affordability comparison tool from Moneythink that helps users see the true costs before and after financial aid, compare personal fit factors, and make a financial plan. 
  • Ready-to-use content to encourage FAFSA submissions by EAB: A suite of adaptable content you can use on your website and in your communications stream to encourage FAFSA submissions. 
  • How can I request a change to my college financial aid package? SwiftStudent, developed by the Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation, will help you write a financial aid appeal letter - for free.
  • The Urban Institute's online resource, "Understanding College Affordability," aims to help students and parents from various backgrounds and income levels decipher what affordability means when it comes to college.
  • TGR Foundation and Discovery Education's "Financial Pursuit" is a self-paced, digital module for students to learn about how to pay for college. There's also an educator guide available to go along with the module.​
  • Students can calculate a quick and simple estimate on their return on college using this tool from the ​Federal Reserve Bank of SF.
  • The Federal Trade Commission provides dependable consumer information, including terms and definitions, tips for financing your education, clarity on different loan types, warning signs of debt relief scams, and more.

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Related Content

Savings Plans & Tax Credits

Often overlooked and rarely discussed, higher education tax credits, deductions, and savings plans, offer eligible students and families additional assistance paying for college. NACAC encourages members to be aware of these options when advising the students and families they work with.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The 2017-18 Free Application for Student Aid is now open. Encourage the students you serve to file for federal financial aid as soon as possible. Learn about the most recent changes to the FAFSA and resources to use with your students on this page.

Financing College

Explore financial aid options, get FAFSA updates, and access tools from trusted sources.