Understand the True Cost Of College — and How to Pay for It

We help families understand how to maximize financial aid and calculate the return on their college investment.

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How to Pay For College

Paying for college can be a confusing and challenging road to navigate. Often, families struggle to understand what options are available and which ones make the most sense for their needs. At CollegeVine, we provide services to help you every step of the way. From assistance filling out the FAFSA application to information about what types of scholarships are available, our services help you fully understand your college investment.

We Help Families Pay For College


of our students who apply to scholarships win at least one offer


the average size of a scholarship award won by our students


more scholarship dollars earned by our students

What types of financial aid exist?

It's important to understand the different types of financial aid that are out there in order to know what works best for your family. It's important to know the difference between the following types of financial aid:

Need-Based Aid

Need-based aid is awarded based on your financial need. To determine your need-based aid, we’ll use our College Finance tool, which reflects the information gathered in the FAFSA, to calculate your Expected Family Contribution. When you subtract that from a school’s tuition you’ll get your expected need-based aid.

Merit Scholarships

Merit aid can be awarded in the form of academic scholarships or other scholarships related to extracurriculars. Our College Applications, College Strategy, and Mentorship programs can help you craft a strong academic and extracurricular profile to increase your chances of receiving this aid.

Student Loans

Student loans are a sum of money given to students in order to help pay for college, but they must be paid back. There are a few different types of student loans, including federal and private loans.

Using our School Financial Profiles tool, we’ll help you estimate your loan repayments for federal and private loans based on a 10-year payment plan.

What is the FAFSA?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is the form that determines your eligibility for federal, state, and college-specific financial aid. This aid includes educational loans, grants, and work-study.

Our College Finances tool uses the same information in the FAFSA form to help calculate the Expected Family Contribution for a student. This data provides families with an in-depth analysis of the cost of different schools.

Want to understand the true cost of college?

We help families understand the true cost of college and how to pay for it. Our tools use real data to show projected earnings based on major and school, as well as what you'll really be paying and for how long.

Learn more about CollegeVine Finances

Can I negotiate my financial aid with a college?

At CollegeVine, we’ll help you understand the details of your financial aid package. If the financial aid you received wasn’t what you were hoping for, we’ll work with you to review your profile and see if a financial aid negotiation makes sense. We've helped students negotiate their financial aid with great results!

We Help Students Get Into Their Dream Schools


acceptance rate to top schools compared to market average


Average size of a scholarship award won by our students


students sent to Ivy League and equivalent schools last year alone

How can I understand if a college is worth it?

Determining whether or not a college is a good investment can be tricky—that’s why we have our projected ROI tool. Using a school’s major and expected family contribution, we’ll provide a long-term ROI for that school. Taking into consideration a student’s projected total lifetime earnings and outstanding loan debt, we’ll show you an interactive graph with your projected ROI at 0, 1, 10, 15, and 20 years after graduating.