Paying for college

Getting a college education is a worthy goal.  A 2011 Pew Research Center analysis using Census Bureau data estimates that the typical adult with a bachelor’s degree will earn $1.42 million over a 40-year career as compared with $770,000 for a typical high school graduate.  That’s almost double the earnings for a worker with a bachelor’s degree.  But with one estimate that average tuition rates raise at roughly twice the annual rate of inflation, how do you plan to pay for that degree?  Following find tools and resources from Massachusetts and beyond on how to finance that degree: 

The Massachusetts No Interest Loan (NIL)


The Massachusetts No Interest Loan (NIL) program was created to provide eligible, needy Massachusetts residents attending post-secondary educational institutions in Massachusetts with a state-funded loan. The NIL program offers zero-interest loans to assist students in meeting educational costs. Students have a period of ten (10) years to repay their NIL loans.

The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority


The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority is a not-for-profit quasi-government entity serving students and families in Massachusetts and out-of-state students and families pursuing higher education in Massachusetts.  Its mission is to increase access and college affordability across the Commonwealth through low-cost financing alternatives, college savings programs and educational financing expertise on planning, saving and paying for higher education. They have an easy-to-use website for students and parents.

American Student Assistance


American Student Assistance is a Massachusetts-based private nonprofit whose public purpose mission is to empower students and alumni to successfully manage and repay their college loan debt.   They do this by providing student loan education and enabling the development of financial competencies through the use of innovative web-based tools and trusted, neutral advice – all free of charge to students and alumni.

Massachusetts Colleges Online


Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) is a consortium of the 15 community colleges and 9 state colleges of Massachusetts. The institutions have joined to share their convenient and flexible online courses and programs with students throughout the state and beyond.


Resource and Tool

FinAid was established in the fall of 1994 as a public service. This award-winning site has grown into the most comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools -- on or off the web.

Resource and Tool was established as a private company in 1999 with a mission to help individuals and professional advisors better understand how to meet the challenge of paying for higher education costs.  It was sold to College Savings Holdings, LLC in December 2012. In addition to, College Savings Holdings LLC also owns, a college savings registry that allows friends and family to make gifts into a child's 529 college savings account.

College Savings & 529 Plans


Guide providing information on the various tools including 529 plans available to parents to establish a college savings plan for their children. 

Federal Student Aid


This webpage describes the grants, work-study, and low-interest loans that help make college affordable.  Financial aid is available from a variety of sources for college, career school, graduate school, and professional school, and can come from the U.S. Federal Government, the state where you live, the college you attend, or a nonprofit or private organization.


This website focuses on building one of the web’s leading student resources for financial aid information. The site was launched to help clarify the differences between grants, scholarships & other forms of financial aid with a goal of helping students get out of college without having much debt. organizes financial aid resources by location and theme to help encourage students to find financial aid through numerous vectors they may not have thought of before stumbling upon this website.


This website includes various how-to guides for graduate school students on scholarships, financial aid, and alternative sources plus tips for PhD students.

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