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.
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
- Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid - The U.S. Department of Education provides detailed information on federal financial aid programs and tells you how to apply for them. The guide is available in both English and Spanish and in PDF and HTML formats. Print copies may be requested from the U.S. Department of Education.
- 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 Hope Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit are education credits you can subtract in full from the federal income tax. For more information, download the Tax Benefits for Education publication from the IRS.