Paying for College

Finding the funds to pay for a post-secondary education is often cited as the biggest barrier students and parents face—but it doesn’t have to be.

Start early.

Finding scholarships and applying for financial aid takes time. The sooner you start the easier it will be.

Complete the FAFSA.

The Free Application for Financial Student Aid - more commonly called the FAFSA - is the form that documents how much you can realistically be expected to contribute toward your college education – and how much you will need in financial aid. Completing it takes time and requires access to recent tax documents and other forms. Start collecting these papers as soon as possible and keep them together so they are handy when you are ready to complete the FAFSA.

These sites offer help in completing the FAFSA and obtaining federal financial aid:

Student Aid on the Web
a guide to federal student aid and the process

Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) online

FAFSA Forecaster
estimate your financial aid award

PIN
apply for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to complete your FAFSA online

National Student Loan Data System
a central location for all student grants and loans

Consider all of your options.

Federal financial aid is just the beginning. Look into state grant and loan programs and private scholarship opportunities as well.

Financial aid programs in Missouri and Illinois:

Missouri Department of Higher Education

Illinois Student Assistance Commission

College cost considerations:

Higher Education Opportunity Act Info

Be cautious in considering student loans.

Student loan debt can become a significant financial challenge for students who do not plan carefully. Students are urged to be good consumers in learning about prospective loans upfront. The following resources can help:

Scholarship Foundation Consumer Advisory on Student Loan Debt

What Students Should Know About Student Loans

Private scholarships

Please go to our Scholarships page to connect to Scholarship Central, the online portal that connects St. Louis area students to approximately 30 scholarships, and to view a database of local private scholarships.

Other resources:

Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis
provides interest-free student loans to qualifying students

Scholarships.com
database search

Cappex
create a profile to apply online

Zinch
create a profile and apply online

Student Aid
a planning tool to help identify the costs of a post-secondary degree

FinAid
guide to scholarships, loans, military aid and savings