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Create a plan for borrowing and repaying

Personalize your plan.
Create a plan to pay for college that tracks scholarships, grants, and other funds. Use our College Planning CalculatorSM to determine your expected monthly student loan payments. Save your plan so you can make updates any time.

Estimate how much you need to borrow for the entire school year
You can estimate your expenses for the entire school year. To help determine your expenses, check your financial aid award letter, which contains your school's cost of attendance. The cost of attendance is your school's estimate of certain expenses. It may include:

  • tuition
  • fees
  • housing and meals
  • books and supplies
  • travel
  • miscellaneous expenses such as a laptop1

Depending on the type of your loan, your school may certify your loan amount so you don't borrow more than the cost of attendance. Manage your debt effectively by only having to take out a single loan. This eliminates the need for a second credit check and also reduces the number of loans you have to manage once you finish school.

Borrow only for the cost of tuition and related expenses.
Subtract any money you have received from scholarships, grants, work-study, and federal loans, along with any savings you or your family have for school. Then you’ll be left with the amount you still need to pay for college.

Think about your post-college lifestyle.
Only borrow what you can afford to pay back. Visit the U.S Department of Labor’s website for estimated salaries by occupation.


See how Blake put together a plan to pay for college

Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey, financial, tax, or legal advice. Consult your own attorney or tax advisor about your specific circumstances.

Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received as certified by the school. Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half time.