Planning Links & Resources


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Resources to help you
make a smart college choice.

I don't even know where to start!
Resources to help you plan for college:

  • Adventures in Education - A non-profit site by the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation. 
  • Big Future by College Board - Begin the process of selecting a college with tools designed to help a student with self-exploration, career information, overview of the college selection process and financial aid, and a customizable action plan.
  • educationUSA - For international students interested in studying in the U.S., this is the Web presence of a global network of more than 450 advising centers supported by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
  • Federal Student Aid - Start by defining your goals and interests, understanding college costs, and planning financially and academically at this site offered by the U.S. Department of Education. 
  • Find the Best Colleges for You - An objective and detailed step-by-step introduction to beginning your college search, developed jointly by Consumer Reports and The Education Conservancy.
  • Know How 2 Go - From middle school through high school, this site will walk you through what you need to know - and what you need to do - at every step on your way to college.
  • National Association for College Admissions Counseling - This association of high school counselors and college admissions officers also offers information and guidance for students.


I'm ready to do some exploring.
Web sites that (like U-CAN) help you learn what's out there:

  • Big Future by College Board - Site includes a college search tool, a scholarship search tool, and a customizable action plan for students.
  • College Completion - Produced by The Chronicle of Higher Education, this microsite is a tool to help students and families navigate a complex subject: which colleges do the best job of graduating their students.
  • College Navigator - This U.S. Department of Education site offers tons of data, as well as maps showing each college's location.
  • College Portrait of Undergraduate Education - Similar to U-CAN, but provides information about public colleges and universities.
  • CollegeInSight - From the Institute for College Access & Success, the site offers data on almost 5,000 U.S. colleges and universities in a structure that makes it easy to compare and analyze institutions.
  • College Reality Check - Produced by The Chronicle of Higher Education with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this site shares facts and figures that students, parents, and counselors should weigh in making decisions about college.
  • Colleges that Change Lives - This nonprofit group's site offers helpful tips on what to look for during a college search. It also profiles 40 less-well-known colleges (public and private) that they cite for "their life-changing success with students." 
  • Princeton Review - Insights from student surveys, and click on "Best Fit School Search" to try out their "Counselor-O-Matic" in beta.
  • U.S. News & World Report "Best Colleges" - Beyond its rankings, this site offers a wealth of data and guidance on the 1,400 colleges it lists.
  • Voluntary Framework of Accountability - New tool from the American Association of Community Colleges to assist students and families considering enrollment in two-year colleges.  Expected to launch in late 2013.


Can I afford it?
Help with figuring out what college will cost:

  • College Affordability and Transparency Center - A Depatment of Education site with lists - by type of institution - of those with the highest and lowest published tuition and net price.
  • FastWeb - Information on national and institution-based scholarships, and also has a feature that automatically alerts students to application deadlines for scholarships of interest.
  • Federal Student Aid  - Learn about the types of student aid available, set up a personal account, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on this Department of Education site.
  • FinAid - Extensive information and calculators for every aspect of student aid.  Click on the "Students" button to get step-by-step guidance.  Also includes information for international and nontraditional students.
  • FinancialAidSuperSite - Provides detailed information on financial planning for college, plus it offers links to lots of other student aid sites.
  • "Paying for College" Cost Comparison Tool - Released in a beta version April 2012, this on-line tool by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau allows you to compare your net cost across three instititons you're considering.
  • National College Finance Center - NCFC creates a personalized college finance plan or repayment plan based on your individual information and situation — providing students and families with an action plan.  NCFC’s mission is to guide students and families to resources that will help pay for college the smartest way possible, as well as provide information and advice on repaying students loans.
  • Net Price Calculators - Here are the latest news stories on the calculators, which are now required on all college websites.  For an estimate of what you would pay after financial aid at a specific college or university, go to that institution's U-CAN profile, then click on the net price calculator link in the "What Students Pay" section.
  • The Private College 529 Plan, through a consortium of private colleges and universities, offers a guaranteed way to purchase tomorrow's tuition at today's prices, for up to 30 years after it was purchased.
  • Student Loans - Avoiding Deceptive Offers - A publication by the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Education on avoiding scams in student lending.