Education Financing

College is expensive. Learn about your options to pay for it.

College Costs Overview

College costs are more than just the price of tuition. Living arrangements, books & meals can raise the sticker price.


Take control and track your expenses using our new Student Budgeting Calculator.


Comparing your college costs and creating a personal budget has never been easier.

What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is money used to pay for college and includes grants, scholarships, work-study jobs, and loans.

Getting Financial Aid starts with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).

FAFSA is the first step in applying for many forms of financial aid. Every student should complete the application prior to entering college and re-apply for financial aid each year enrolled in school.

Submit the application even if you don’t think you would qualify for federal financial aid. You cannot borrow through the Direct or PLUS loan programs without completing the FAFSA.

To complete and submit your FAFSA online, you must create a U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. The FSA ID will serve as your electronic signature. You can fill out the FAFSA online and create a FSA ID

For More Information:

Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC)
1-800-4-FED-AID (433-3243) 
Monday: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET 
Tuesday/Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET 
Thursday/Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET 
Saturday/Sunday: Closed

FAFSA on the Web 
The government offers a detailed, question-by-question guide to filling out the paper and online FAFSA.

Grants & Scholarships

Obtaining funds through these resources to pay for school may reduce the amount of student loans you’ll need to borrow, helping to save money now and into the future.


  • Federal Pell Grant 
    This grant provides monetary assistance to undergraduate students who exhibit financial need and have not yet earned either a bachelor's or a professional degree. Both full-time and part-time students are eligible. Unlike loans, Pell Grants are not repaid. They are a financial incentive to advance your education. Award amounts may change annually, the maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $7,395 for the 2023–24 award year (July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024). To apply, you must complete the FAFSA.
  • State-Administered Grants 
    These grants and their awards vary by state. You should contact your high school counselor or your state's higher education authority for details and application deadlines.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) 
    This grant provides monetary assistance to undergraduate students who exhibit exceptional financial need and have not yet earned either a bachelor's or a professional degree. Both full-time and part-time students are eligible. Like Pell Grants, this grant does not have to be repaid. Awards may range from $100 to $4,000 annually. To apply, you must complete the FAFSA.


  • Business/Institution
    Several companies and corporations offer scholarship programs, which are often free to enter and can be found on their website. Through the PNC Student Solution Scholarship, students can enter to win a $10,000 scholarship. Learn more about PNC Financial Literacy[1]
  • Online
    Sites such as can make searching for the right scholarship easy.
  • Public libraries
    Look for books such as the Annual Register of Grant Support.
  • Professional organizations
    A number of professional and community organizations offer scholarships, such as the Lions Club, the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts.
  • Employers
    Some employers offer their employees and their children scholarship opportunities.
  • High school counselors
    These professionals may know about grants and scholarships that specifically match you and your interests.
  • Financial aid professionals
    The financial aid offices of the schools that interest you can provide detailed information on the types of aid available from their school, the required applications and deadlines.

$10,000 Scholarship.
12 Winners. Enter today.

Financial knowledge and help with finances can improve your college experience. Here's a chance to get both.[1]

Learn More About the Student Solution Scholarship

College Savings Plans For Your Student

In addition to regular interest-bearing savings accounts, college savings plans are available to help you increase how much you can save and contribute towards funding an education.

529 Plans
"Qualified Tuition Plans" 

529 plans allow you to save for higher education for a named beneficiary or prepay future tuition in today's dollars, and can offer significant tax advantages. Parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts or friends can establish them. You can even set up a plan for yourself as long as the plan is designated for education funding needs.

Coverdell Education
Savings Accounts

A Coverdell Education Savings Account (CESA), formerly known as an Education IRA, is designed to help you set aside money for the qualified education expenses of your children, grandchildren or any other eligible beneficiaries. You cannot deduct contributions on your tax return, but the earnings are not taxed while they are held in the account.

When your child is ready to head to college, distributions from this account will be tax-free if they're used to pay qualified education expenses. These funds may also be used to save for elementary and secondary education.


A custodial account under the Uniform Gifts to Minor Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfers to Minor Act (UTMA) is another way to save for your child's future higher education needs. Although not tax advantaged - earnings and withdrawals may be subject to your child's tax rate - custodial accounts allow you to contribute as much as you like and give you maximum control over investment choices and decisions.

Student Loan Insights


6 Proven Steps to Help You Pay for College

Plan your college journey with confidence. Explore practical methods on how to pay for college, from federal aid to innovative funding strategies.

6 min read


Scholarships: Where to Find Them

Scholarships are a great way to reduce how much you’ll pay out of pocket for school. Here are PNC’s tips for securing scholarships.

4 min read


Subsidized vs. Unsubsidized Student Loans: What Borrowers Need to Know

Choosing a student loan? Discover the key differences between subsidized vs unsubsidized loans and how they impact your college funding.

6 min read

Repaying Your Student Loans

Find out if refinancing makes sense for you—click the tabs below to learn more.

One way to help achieve your financial goals is to refinance your student loans. Whether you’re looking for the convenience of a single monthly payment or want to save money over the life of your student loan(s), PNC can help.[2]

The PNC Education Refinance Loan (PERL) is specifically designed for refinancing student loans. To learn more about the options available to meet your unique needs, watch our series of videos on student loan refinancing. 

Video: Why Refinance

Consolidating your student loans can make managing your student debt simpler with only one service provider and one monthly payment.

Video: Simplfiying Payments

Select the repayment term that best meets your financial goals: shorten your term to reduce total paid or extend your term to lower monthly payments.

Video: Repayment Period

You may want the security of knowing your rate is locked in for the life of your loan. Or, perhaps you'd prefer a lower rate right now, knowing you could pay more later on if rates go up. Whatever you decide, we've got you covered.

Video: Interest Rates

Learn what you need to get started, including what you'll need and how to apply.

Video: Getting Started

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