Pay for college or a credential, and know when to apply

Yes, paying for college or to earn a credential can be expensive. But your student can't afford not to continue his or her education after high school. Secure jobs that pay well require more than a high-school diploma.

Getting help to pay for college or to earn a credential starts with filling out the FAFSA. It will take about 30 minutes.

Make sure you're at the right website — don't be fooled by websites that want your money. Filling out the FAFSA is free!

Know the facts! Your child can afford to go to college or to get a credential.

Applying to college

Applying to college doesn't have to be scary. You just have to know the rules.

Don't let your student be afraid to ask for help. Teachers and school counselors are great resources. Local universities and community colleges are eager to help, too. Your child's school may have a College Fair or Financial Aid Information Night. Go to them — even before your student is a senior!

There's also lots of great information online, so you'll want to divide and conquer! Tell your student you'll do some research and insist he or she do so as well.

The college application starts in the fall for most colleges. Applying on time is important. You're likely to get more financial aid if you don't wait until the last minute.