It's important to start saving early for college. Keep in mind that few students pay full sticker price for college. Most students pay for their education through a combination of savings, scholarships, grants, and loans.
Financial aid for college can come from a lot of different places, but the first three general sources to look into are the following:
- U.S. Government: Federal loans, scholarships, and more
- Ohio Government: Ohio Department of Higher Education and other state-sponsored sources
- Military: Financial aid for military personnel, veterans, and their families
Ohio offers the CollegeAdvantage 529 College Savings Program where the earnings on your savings are tax-free and withdrawals made for qualified higher education expenses are not taxed. Ohioans get even more advantages with a tax deduction for contributions up to $4,000 per year, per beneficiary. Whether you’re the parent of a young child, middle school student, or 12th grader, there are advantages to using a 529 Plan before you start paying for college.
And be careful! Make sure any financial aid search service is free - if it costs money, it could be a scam!
Financial aid eligibility varies by school and by program. Please check with the financial aid office of the school you are considering before making a final commitment.
Student Loan Default Rate
Among a variety of other factors, student loan default rates may be a consideration for students when choosing a college or university for postsecondary studies. The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for calculating the official annual cohort default rate for colleges and universities. Nationally, the aggregate cohort default rate for the most recent fiscal year available is 10.1 percent. Cohort default rates may vary significantly between and among institutions.
The Official Cohort Default Rate Search tool for postsecondary institutions is available at this link.
Other online resources to help you find money for college:
- OhioMeansJobs: Search for Scholarships - Over 1.5 Million Scholarships are available using this search engine from OhioMeansJobs.
- Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators: College Aid Resources
- How Financial Aid Works - For most students planning to attend college or career school, financial aid is essential. In this online guide, the U.S. Department of Education walks through how financial aid works, resources to pay for college, and loan repayment options.
- Apply for Financial Aid - The most vital step in applying for federal grants, work-study, and loans for college is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.
- Start Here, Go Further: Federal Student Aid for Students and Parents - This website can answer many of your questions about aid eligibility, types of federal aid, and how to apply. From this site you can get a personal identification number (PIN), which allows you to complete applications online.
- Federal Education Tax Credits - Tax credits can help offset education costs. The American opportunity tax credit (AOTC) and the lifetime learning credit (LLC) are education credits you can subtract from your federal income tax.