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Bottom Line Up Front

  • Even if you’re still in high school, it’s never too early to make a plan for how you’ll pay the cost of college.
  • Federal Student Aid programs are available to help with your educational costs, and private student loans can help you bridge the remaining gap in funding if needed. 
  • Whether you’re still in high school or already going to a public school or private college, there are ways that can help you manage the costs of college tuition and other costs of college.

Time to Read

2 minutes

While heading to college is a great adventure, the cost of college is sky high. Whether you’re still in high school or planning your enrollment at a state public school or a private college, read on to see what you can do now to be able to cover your college expenses.

Tip #1: Get your finances in order

To get where you’re going, you need to know where you are. If you’ve already chosen a school, get a detailed annual cost estimate and compare it to your existing savings, income and budget. If you haven’t picked a school yet, understand the potential cost differences between community, in-state and private schools. If college is still several years away, factor saving into your monthly budget.

Tip #2: Look for loans

No one wants to start off with student loan debt. But sometimes it’s the only way. First, make sure you have a college savings plan that allows tax-free withdrawals. Then, see if there are gaps in your college fund and look for student loans that can help bridge that gap.

Tip #3: Get a head start

A gap in funding happens when federal student aid and scholarships don’t cover all your college expenses. Fill out a FAFSA application for federal student aid. To cover the gap, ensure you apply early so you don’t miss your school’s deadlines.

Tip #4: Look into private student loans

Private student loans are for when federal student loans, grants, savings and scholarships don’t cover all your qualified higher education expenses. Applying for these loans is easy, at Navy Federal, a student loan takes less than 15 minute and you don’t have to repay private student loans right away. Students with Navy Federal loans have up to five years before they have to pay back their loan in full. Private student loan distributions aren’t subject to income tax, but they do have tax benefits that can save you interest on your federal income tax.

Get the Guidance You Need

Navy Federal has a dedicated team of student lending professionals who can provide guidance and answer all your questions. Plus, with a Navy Federal Student Loan, you’re automatically eligible for a Career Assistance Program—online tools and training that can help you level up your resume, hone your interviewing skills and find job search and other tips.

Tip #5: Get a Cosigner

Lenders want to know you can handle repayment before giving you a loan. A parent, other family member or even a friend with good credit can agree to back your loan. Having a cosigner may even help you get a student loan at a lower interest rate.

Some lenders, like Navy Federal, will release your cosigner after you graduate school and make 24 on-time payments in a row. 

Tip #6: Borrow the Right Amount

You may not know what all your college expenses will add up to, so it can be hard to know how much to borrow. Base the amount of your student loan on the cost of your school’s attendance, which includes college tuition and college expenses like fees, books, computers, meals, travel and housing.

Next Steps Next Steps

  1. Visit our student loan page or contact one of our student lending professionals at the Navy Federal Student Loan Center, 8 am to 8 pm, ET, Monday through Friday at 1-877-304-9302.
  2. Calculate how much you’ll need to pay for college—use your college’s net price calculator to ensure you subtract the amount covered by scholarships and grants.


This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.