Ah Financial Aid. At first, it seems like a gift from above. Then, you realize you have to pay it all back.  This handy infographic gives you plenty of advice on navigating the scary waters of paying for a college education.

Types of Financial Aid

The infographic shows us 9 different types of financial aid.  Savings, jobs, work study, grants, federal scholarships, institutional scholarships, federal loans, and private loans.  Those last two – those are the ones you have to pay back.

Timing – Childhood Through High School

Basically, as a parent, you should start saving for college as soon as your child is born.  It can cost as much as $100K per child for a college education, so the sooner you start saving, the less money you have to borrow.  These people advise that by the time the child is a freshman in high school, he or she should start working, and by their sophomore year he or she should start working with their guidance counselor to discuss scholarships and things like that.  Also, by June of sophomore year, the student should start researching schools.

By Junior year, the child should start applying for scholarships, and the parents should start helping the child prepare for those applications by helping get portfolios and letters of recommendation.  By the summer before Senior year, parents should start researching and applying for general scholarships.

In the Senior year, parents should request a FAFSA PIN and fill out the FAFSA worksheet, if they will be needing federal aid.  The student should apply for any institutional grants when they apply for specific colleges, and the government will determine Pell grant eligibility once the FAFSA form is filed.

After High School

You have to renew FAFSA every year, and if the child has a scholarship he or she will have to maintain a certain GPA to keep it.  The whole time the child is in college, parent and child should be saving and planning for repayment of loans, as they can be due as early as three months after graduation.

Is it Worth It?

A graph show you the amount of effort needed and the chance of success in getting loans based on how much aid you need.  Generally it’s better to get a federal loan than a private one, and hopefully there is enough scholarship money out there to make it so you don’t have to borrow too much.


Design:  B

It’s a little hard to read, the last graph is a little hard to understand, and the colors are jarring.

Information:  A

It’s tough to figure out the right thing to do when it comes to finding money for college, and this is very helpful.

Source:  Private Student Loans