Figuring out how to pay for college can be daunting.

So if you’ve submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and are waiting to find out how much financial aid you’ll receive, it might be a good idea to sit down with your parents and explore a few backup options for covering costs. You likely know about the traditional methods — savings, scholarships, grants and student loans — but there are also other means out there that may be right for you and your family.

Before you decide how to pay for your child’s college tuition, compare the options. We encourage you to consult a financial planner for more details and assistance creating the right strategy for your family. Also seek competent tax advice before making any loans or withdrawals from a tax-deferred saving program such as a 401(k) or an IRA retirement account.

The chart below compares the most common nontraditional ways to pay for your education. For a printable version, click here.

Additional Sources:
Fred Amrein, founding principal of Amrein Financial and College Affordability LLC and author Financial Aid and Beyond: Secrets to College Affordability
Joseph Orsolini, co-founder of College Aid Planners
Ashley Feinstein, founder of The Fiscal Femme
IRS Tax Topic 558
IRS Retirement Plan Loans
IRS Hardships, Early Withdrawals and Loans
CFPB Home Equity Loans
IRS Employer Tuition Reimbursement

FAFSA is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Education.