Paying for College

How are you planning to pay for college?

There are many different ways to pay for college. Have you thought about how you plan to pay for college?

Sources of College Funding

Parent Income & Savings
Student Income & Savings
Student Borrowing
Parent Borrowing
Grants & Scholarships
Friends & Relatives

Chart Source: Sallie Mae and Ipsos. How America Pays for College 2019.

It’s no surprise that grants, scholarships and student borrowing make up a large portion of sources of college funding.

Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. Federal Student Aid manages student financial assistance programs that provide grants, loans, and work-study funds to students attending college or career school.

Check out our Scholarship Search Tool

There are many scholarship opportunities available – use our tool to help uncover potential additional sources of college funding.

Start Searching

Does my child need to apply for student aid?

Even if you have come close to your savings goal, as your child heads into his/her last year of high school, it often still makes sense to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®.)

As a reminder, when your child completes this form, they will also automatically be applying for funds from your state, and sometimes from their school as well.


Here are 3 steps to keep in mind:


Summer before 12th grade – encourage your child to go on the Federal Student Aid website and create a username and password and an FSA ID, that they will use to confirm their identity when accessing information and electronically signing documents.


As soon as possible after the October 1 release of the application, complete and submit the free FAFSA form. Refer to the FAFSA deadlines as you work through the financial aid process.
Please note the federal aid deadlines and the state aid deadlines included in the document and that different states and colleges have different deadlines.


Check out our calculators and tools to help you with your college funding.

Financial Aid Calculator

Use the financial aid calculator tool to help estimate your child’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) before completing the FAFSA.

Please note that this calculator only provides directional information. You should complete the FAFSA for actual calculations.

College Search Tool

Help narrow down colleges using the college search tool – search by net price, selectivity, setting, graduation rate and more.

Scholarship Search Tool

There are many scholarship opportunities available – use the scholarship search tool to help uncover potential additional sources of college funding.

Helpful Hint

Federal Student Aid offers a great resource to help avoid scams. Be cautious as you come across offers to help find financial aid. Some things are too good to be true.

Download our Navigating Financial Aid Options flyer for reference.

2 Main Types of Loans for College: Federal and Private


Federal Student Loans and Federal Parent Loans are funded by the federal government.

For more information on the four different types of Federal Loans, visit the Federal Student Aid website.


Private Student Loans are made by a lender - a bank, credit union, state agency, or a school. They are nonfederal loans, and differ by lender and by loan type.

For more details on the NJCLASS Loan Program (Private), visit the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority's dedicated page.

To see how NJCLASS compares to Federal Loans, this chart helps illustrate.

Next Steps

Open an Account

Open an NJBEST account online

Open Account

Apply for Financial Aid

Complete and submit the form.

Apply for FAFSA

Want to Speak with Us?

We’d love to answer any questions live.
Call us at (877) 4NJ-BEST / 465-2378