Admissions Expertise What are the best ways for students to manage their college expenses? The best way to manage college expenses is to start learning about them and preparing as early as possible. Most families have no idea what their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is until they fill out the FAFSA, after the student has applied to colleges! You can get a good estimate of what you will be expected to pay using the EFC calculators on the College Board website and at Finaid.org. Once you know your EFC and understand what goes into the formulas, you can begin to plan for college expenses. Most students pay for college with a combination of parental income and assets, student income and assets, grant or scholarship money, and loans. Students can position themselves to be in the running for merit aid by applying to schools where they fall in the top 25% academically. The more you know, and the sooner you know it, the better your chances of being able to afford college and graduate with reasonable debt. Likes Like This Answer Already Liked This Answer Thank you, this item will be reviewed.