Begin the road to higher education and a brighter future now.
Whether you are a high school student deciding what you want to be or a parent figuring out how to pay for college, EducationPlanner.org is your one-stop career- and college-planning site.
If you’re an eligible Pennsylvania resident, apply for a Pennsylvania State Grant to get help with the cost of higher education.
Other Educational Aid
- Explore the other aid programs available that provide funding for higher education.
Gain career-related, on-the-job work experience while earning money to help pay for your higher education.
Explore aid that helps strengthen the state’s workforce and makes higher education more affordable with the Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program (PA-TIP).
Service to our country may qualify you or your dependents for financial aid when you pursue higher education.
Find out if you are eligible for loan forgiveness, which repays part or all of your educational loan debt if you fulfill certain work-related requirements in specific fields.
How to Pay for College – Scholarships, Loans, Financial Aid & the FAFSA
There are many types of student financial aid for college, including scholarships, grants, loans and work-study and it can be earned at the federal, state or institution level. For more information on college costs and financial aid, check out the links and articles below.
Grants & Scholarships
The MDHE administers the grant and scholarship programs listed in the sidebar on the right.
Grant awards are usually based on financial need, do not need to be repaid and are available from the state, federal government or the college you plan to attend.
To apply for most grants, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed by April 1 prior to the upcoming academic year.
Scholarships reward students for academic or athletic achievements, service to a local community, unique skills, special talents or even a specific career interest. Scholarships do not typically need to be repaid, but make sure you understand the scholarship requirements before you accept any money.
Other scholarships may be available through the school you are planning to attend, community groups, charitable foundations, religious organizations and other agencies. If you search the Internet for scholarships, here are some important scholarship search tips.
Sallie Mae’s “How America Saves for College 2013” study, conducted by Ipsos, finds that despite rising college costs, fewer American families with children under age 18 save for college (50%) than did just two years ago (60%). Based on a nationally representative survey of parents of children under age 18, the study found that:
- While nearly all parents believe college is an investment in their child’s future, only one-third have a plan to pay for college.
- When asked to describe their feelings about saving for college, parents’ top answers were overwhelmed, annoyed, frustrated, scared, or that they don’t like thinking about it at all.
- Among those not saving, 47 percent cite a barrier other than money. Top reasons included thinking that children would be awarded enough financial aid to cover the cost of college, children are too young or too old, uncertainty about which savings option to use, procrastination and feeling it is the child’s responsibility to save and pay for college.
- Starting to save is most frequently prompted by major milestones such as a child’s birth (34%), starting school (24%), or learning about college costs from friends and family (20%).
- Slightly more than one quarter (27%) of parents who are saving for college use a 529 college savings plan. However, more parents save for college using general funds or CDs (42%) and may miss out on tax incentives offered by a 529 account
You can estimate your payments with various interest rates and loan terms using this calculator.
You can estimate your payments under various repayment plans using this calculator.
This calculator can help you determine if you qualify for the Income-Based Repayment(IBR) plan. IBR is designed to make payments more affordable for borrowers.
Income Contingent Repayment
This calculator can help you determine if you qualify for the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan.The Income Contingent Repayment plan is based on your Adjusted Gross Income.
Information for Transferring Students
When applying for a student loan as a transfer student, it is important to keep in mind that if you received a student loan at a prior school, you will not automatically receive a student loan at your new school.
If you completed the FAFSA during the current academic year and you decide to transfer, your new school may require you to provide a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) – even if you did not receive financial aid at your previous school.
When you transfer, remember to do the following:
At your old school: Cancel any outstanding loan disbursements when you withdraw.
At your new school: Inform them about the school you previously attended and provide your SAR. Additionally, if you have not previously signed a Federal Direct Loan MPN, you will be required to do so at your new school. All federal students loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2010 must be made by the federal government.