Affordability Center

No one who is looking to better themselves through higher education should have to graduate with unsustainable debt. Unfortunately, increasing numbers of students are taking larger and larger loans. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, over a 10-year period “average student debt at graduation has risen 56%, from $18,550 to $28,950, more than double the rate of inflation (25%).” Even in the facing of these rapidly increasing numbers, students often feel that loans are there only recourse if they want a college education. We established AffordableColleges.com’s Affordability Center to provide students with the information and knowledge they need to finance their education without staggering debt. Here you will find the resources and guides compiled by our expert research team that will show you how you can make your college education affordable.

Affordability Center

FAFSA Guide

This guide covers all you'll need to know about federal aid and filling out the FAFSA. Read on to learn more about how you can reduce the cost of school with financial aid.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Undergraduate students
  • Graduate students
  • Parents
We’ll walk you through the FAFSA step by step and make sure you get the maximum aid award. FAFSA can be overwhelming, especially your first time filling it out. We break the application down to help eliminate confusion.

Financial Aid for Minorities

Scholarships for minorities are of tremendous help to these students, but finding the right scholarships to apply to is not always an easy task. To help you in your search for additional funding, we have compiled a list of some of the top minority scholarships.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Minority students
  • Parents
We provide a list of scholarships created specifically for minority students, with information including eligibility requirements, deadlines, and application directions. Searching through hundreds of scholarships online can be stressful. We’ve sorted through the relevant ones and organized them so that you can easily determine which scholarships you are eligible for.

Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities

We've curated a list of general scholarships for students with disabilities, as well as those aimed towards students with specific learning disabilities, physical impairments, psychological disabilities, and more.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Students with disabilities
  • Parents
This is a comprehensive breakdown of financial aid opportunities available to students with disabilities, including intellectual, physical, and sensory disabilities. Students with disabilities face unique challenges in college. This list sorts scholarships based on specific disabilities to help you find the options that best align with your needs and experience.

Financial Aid for Military and Veterans

This financial aid guide provides a thorough overview of grants and scholarships that are available to servicemembers and families from every branch of the military (including the Guard and Reserves).
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Students who have served in the military
  • Students who have parents in the military
  • Students who are married to someone in the military
Our list includes general military scholarships, scholarships by military branch, and scholarships for each branch of ROTC/JROTC. Service members and families of service members may not be aware of all the funding available for their schooling. Our extensive list will almost certainly include a financial aid package that applies to you.

Financial Aid Guide

This financial aid overview aims to help students and their families learn more about the student loan borrowing process from beginning to end, so they can be prepared to make smart financial aid decisions.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Incoming/undergraduate students
  • Graduate students
  • School financial aid offices
  • International students
This guide applies to all students who have questions about choosing an accredited school, filling out the FAFSA, seeking financial aid, and avoiding scams while doing so. We answer all the questions you need to know before applying for financial aid, including which types you should seek out and how to make sense of each offering.

Scholarships Guide

College scholarships come in many forms, ranging from awards based on academic or athletic performance to those intended for members of minority groups. Explore our database of scholarships.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Undergraduate & graduate students interested in applying for scholarships
  • Organizations offering financial aid assistance to students
This is a go-to page for info, FAQs, and tips about scholarships for all students. Knowing which type of scholarship to apply for can be difficult. This guide is here to help you narrow down your choices.

Financial Aid for Women

Disparities still exist between men and women in the workforce. Schools and organizations are seeking to close this gender gap by offering scholarships that motivate women to excel in college and in their careers without piling up a significant amount of debt.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
Female graduate and undergraduate students applying for scholarships Aside from general scholarships for women, we break down this list into industry-specific scholarships, scholarships for minority women, and scholarships for special groups. More women are earning degrees in higher education than ever before. This extensive list of scholarships will likely include an option for women from all backgrounds.

Financial Aid for Online Students

Successfully navigating financial aid and scholarships is a challenging task, and without proper guidance, it can make or break your financial situation after graduation. In this guide, you will find all the information you need to borrow money smartly, earn free money through scholarships, and graduate with a minimum debt burden.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Current students
  • Prospective students
  • Parents
Inside you will find details on completing the FAFSA, submitting scholarship applications, and successfully repaying student loans. Both students and parents need to know the ins-and-outs of borrowing money to pay for college. We provide information for both, clearly explaining the benefits and pitfalls of financing an education.

College Savings Plans

If you're wondering how to start a college savings fund, or are overwhelmed by the number of college savings plans available to you, then you should read this guide. Inside, we break down all the most popular college savings options, and then provide you with the information needed to get started on the best plan for you.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Legal guardians
Analyzes the most popular college savings plans piece-by-piece, so you can easily understand the best option for your financial situation. Many families aren’t aware that there are number of college savings plans that offer specific benefits when used to pay college tuition. Our guide puts all of that information in one place.

LGBTQ Students and College Affordability

LGBTQ students face a set of unique challenges on their higher education path. Fortunately, there are a host of resources intended to help overcome these obstacles. Our guide goes in-depth to explain what to look for in an LGBTQ friendly campus, as well as covering financial aid opportunities and reviewing national organizations.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • LGBTQ students
  • Parents of LGBTQ students
Navigating the many resources and organizations dedicated to LGBTQ students can be overwhelming. We have compiled and reviewed them here to make your college search easier. Many LGBTQ students and their parents don’t realize the number of opportunities available to them. Our guide outlines everything you need to know about LGBTQ resources as you plan for your higher education.

Online Colleges that Offer Free Laptops

While online colleges are typically more affordable than traditional brick-and-mortar schools, an up-to-date laptop can be pricey. We’ve created a list of online schools offering laptops that are either steeply discounted or free, helping you to ease the costs of college and get the best technology available.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Prospective online students
  • School financial aid offices
  • Parents
We provide a list of online colleges offering free laptops, detailed information on the types of deals offered at each school, and resources to help you choose the right device and save money as an online student. A lot of free laptop offers come with a catch. We’ve sorted through the fine print to let you know how each school’s policy works, which type of device you’re getting, and other benefits that are included in the package.

Gap Year Planning

What is a gap year — and what does it mean to take one? For many high school graduates, it’s a chance to explore options and expand horizons in the year before starting college. Whether studying language and culture abroad, volunteering with service organizations, or choosing an academic path, gap year students gain valuable perspectives.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • High school seniors
  • Parents
  • Students transitioning to college after a gap year
In our guide, we weigh the pros and cons of taking a gap year, discuss the types of students who benefit from the experience, and provide an extensive list of gap year programs and financial aid options to fund them. Many students shy away from the idea of taking a gap year due to the associated costs. We provide students with a straightforward resource to help them plan an affordable gap year that aligns with their academic goals.

Paying for College Without Parents

Paying for college without parents can be challenging. We explore various strategies students can use to make college more affordable.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Incoming/Undergraduate Students
  • School financial aid offices
  • Parents
We provide a breakdown of ways students can pay for college without the help of parents, starting with choosing the most affordable college. Paying for school is stressful, and even moreso for students who aren’t receiving financial help from their parents. We want to help these students by laying out the most practical options to pay for school, while leaving them with the least amount of debt possible.

College Transfer Guide

Transferring colleges isn't an uncommon choice. We'll walk you through each step of the transfer process.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Transfer students
  • Parents
  • School transfer offices
This guide helps walk students through the process of transferring schools. Specifically, it focuses on the transfer process from a community college to a four-year school. Transferring to a new college can get messy. We’ll make sure you are prepared ahead of time, with advice on researching your credit transfers to making sure your financial aid carries over.

Jobs that Help Pay For College

Many companies offer employee benefit packages that assist with educational costs. In this guide, we’ll describe what jobs help pay for college, common sources of tuition assistance, and how you can conquer debt after graduation.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Incoming/undergraduate students
  • School financial aid offices
  • College graduates
We provide a list of job options for current students and soon-to-be graduates who want to pay off debt as quickly as possible — whether that means working through college or through a loan forgiveness program. Some students may be unaware of the opportunities available to help pay off loans during school and after graduation. We’ve created this guide to help you begin managing your student debt right away.

Student Housing Guide

Living on campus is a unique experience, but may not be the best choice for every student. We go over the pros and cons of various housing options for students just entering or returning to college.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Incoming/undergraduate students
  • Parents
  • Homeless or at-risk students
This guide will cover the advantages and disadvantages of different student housing options, focusing on both financial and logistical considerations. The transition to college is stressful enough. We made this guide to lay out the various options for college housing and to help make at least one big decision a little easier.

Study Abroad Guide

The following guide discusses everything you need to know about studying abroad, from how to pick a program to what you should pack. Being adequately prepared is one of the best ways to ensure that you’ll be able to make the most of your time overseas.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Students
  • Parents
  • Study abroad offices
We’ll walk you through the process of planning a study abroad trip, from researching locations and filling out applications to paying for your trip with the help of financial aid. Planning for an extended stay overseas can be stressful. We provide checklists, resources, and step-by-step instructions to help keep you organized through the process.

Getting College Credit for Work/Life Experience

If you have meaningful experience outside the classroom, you can earn college credit by completing a prior learning assessment (PLA).
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • High school students
  • Undergraduate students
  • Students who have served in the military
There are several methods of assessing prior learning to determine whether to give students college credit for work experience. In this guide, we go over different types of PLAs and discuss how colleges and universities use them to evaluate students’ experiential learning. Many students may be unaware that their out-of-classroom learning can be worth college credit. We discuss the ways you can shorten your degree completion time before you even begin college through exams, work training, or military service.

International Student's Guide to Financial Aid

Scholarships for international students coupled with international student loans and other financial aid options can make the dream of studying in the U.S. an affordable reality.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • International Students
  • College Admissions Offices
This guide explains the federal aid process and helps international students navigate the challenges and opportunities they will come across along the way. Finding ways to fund your degree as an international student can be challenging. We provide a list of scholarships and other options to help pay for your overseas education.

The Difference Between a BA and a BS

Bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BS) degrees continue to be the most popular options for students pursuing four-year programs in the U.S. Many students, however, are confused about what differentiates one degree from the other.
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Who It’s For How It Helps Why It’s Useful
  • Incoming Freshmen
  • undergraduate Students
If you’re starting to research college programs and are wondering whether a BA or BS degree is right for you, we can help walk you through the process. We go over the similarities and differences between a BA and a BS, providing example courses from real school programs to help you decide.