Pop Quiz:
How much do you know about higher education financing?

Financial Literacy

We want students and families to feel confident about financing higher education, and that starts with having a plan and knowing the facts about paying for college.

Test your own college preparedness knowledge by taking the quiz below.


81% of college-bound students view a degree as a ticket to better jobs and opportunities in the future.


However, while most know the value of a college degree, 42% of students and families say they need help planning for college.

The good news is there are free tools and resources to help. See how Sallie Mae makes sense of planning for college.

81% of students believe in the value of a college degree.


All families can and should fill out the FAFSA when applying to college.


All students are eligible to submit the FAFSA and should each year they’re enrolled. That said, nearly a third of families skipped the FAFSA altogether. Most common reason for skipping the form: families believed their income was too high.

There’s no need to fear the FAFSA – Check out Sallie Mae’s step-by-step guide to filing out the FAFSA.

Only 54% of families are aware all students are eligible to submit the FAFSA.


The largest portion of college costs is paid by student borrowing.


According to our “How America Pays for College” report, the largest portion of college costs was paid from parents’ income and savings (43%); the second-largest portion was covered by scholarships and grants (26%); student and parent borrowing (18%), and funds from relatives and friends (2%).

Sallie Mae has several free resources like planning calculators and scholarship searches that help students build their plan and pay for college with confidence. If families need to cover remaining costs, we offer responsible, private student loans.

43% of college costs in 2021-22 was paid from parents’ income and savings.


Only A+ students and athletes get scholarships.


There are scholarships available for all students and interests. We mean it – scholarships for puppeteers, left-handed students, duck callers, and even students who made their own duct tape prom dress.

All students and families can use Sallie Mae’s free scholarship search tool to access more than six million scholarships worth up to $30 billion.

45% of families believe scholarships are only for star athletes or students with the best grades.


Students who complete college are more likely to have started planning to pay early.


42% of students who completed college had a plan to pay before enrolling, compared to only 26% of those who did not complete.

The top reasons for not completing include: a change in motivation, focus or a life change (40%), financial reasons (19%), and mental health reasons (14%).

Having a plan for how to pay could help students get their degree. We have quick tips for how to get started.

36% of students do not complete their degree within 6 years.


Roughly half of student loans were made by the government.


Of the $1.7 trillion of total student debt, roughly 93% of outstanding student loans are federal loans made by the government. Even before we offer a private student loan, we help students and families build a plan to pay for college in three simple steps.

Private Loans are a Small Fraction of all Student Debt (7.3%)