Put your college planning on track

When it comes to paying for college first look for money you won’t have to pay back (scholarships and grants). Then explore federal student loans. Finally, consider a responsible private student loan to cover the rest.


Financial aid

Student loans

Tools to help you plan and pay

Learn about the
1-2-3 approach

Explore how you can follow a step-by-step method to pay for college.

See the 1-2-3 approach to paying

Build a customized
financial plan for college

Join the families with a plan who saved 46% more than non-planners.

Make a plan for college

Search for

Access more than 5 million college scholarships worth up to $24 billion.

Search for scholarships

Stay up to date

Compare financial aid award letters

Know how to compare your award letters to help you make a college decision.

See award letter tips

Vote in the Make College Happen ChallengeSM

Check out the 10 finalists’ entries and vote for your favorite from February 15 – 22, 2017.

View the finalists’ entries

Know important college planning dates

Keep track of dates and deadlines as you research and apply to colleges.

Download the checklist

Regardless of what you go through in life, if you work hard, the opportunities are endless.

Explore scholarship opportunities

Carmen H.,
School counselor

How American families pay for college

is paid by scholarships and grants

is paid by parent income and savings

is paid by student borrowing

is paid by student income and savings

is paid by parent borrowing

Source: How America Pays for College 2016, by Sallie Mae and Ipsos. Top five ways; does not total 100%.

 No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. See official rules at SallieMae.com/SweepstakesRules.

How America Pays for College 2016, by Sallie Mae and Ipsos.