Paying for college: A detailed infographic on financial aid

Infographic: How to pay for college

Confused about how to fund your kid’s higher ed? You’re not alone.

Any talk about the costs and benefits of college should start with one figure: $1 million. That’s how much more, on average, your kid will earn over a lifetime by getting a college diploma instead of stopping at high school. And while it may seem like you need to be a CPA just to navigate the ins and outs of paying for college, the basics of the system are quite straightforward. (The process? Less so.) I’ve always wished families could picture all the pieces of the college money puzzle in one handy chart, so I created this visual guide to the college money fundamentals. (To see how things got so complicated, check out this history.) Gather around the kitchen table and read through it with your high schooler. It’s sure to spark some necessary conversations about what you can afford and what to do next.

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