If your child has submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and you are waiting to find out how much financial aid you’ll receive, it might be a good idea to explore a few backup options for covering costs.

You likely know about the traditional methods — savings, scholarships, grants and student loans — but there are other avenues to consider that may be right for 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 some nontraditional, but still feasible, ways to pay for your child’s education.


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 307
IRS Tax Topic 558
IRS Retirement Plan Loans
IRS Retirement Plans FAQ Regarding Loans
IRS Hardships, Early Withdrawals and Loans
CFPB Home Equity Loans
IRS: Interest on Home Equity Still Deductible Under New Law
With the Tax Deduction Gone, Is Home Equity a Smart Way to Pay for College?
IRS Employer Tuition Reimbursement

FAFSA® is a registered trademark of the US Department of Education and is not affiliated with Discover® Student Loans.