DO explore alternatives to borrowing. Experts recommend starting the college search process in your childâ€™s junior year of high school. Thatâ€™s when you or your child should register with reputable online scholarship databases such as FastWeb or Scholarship Search on the College Boardâ€™s website. Itâ€™s tedious and time-consuming to fill out the forms, but spread out over the junior and senior years of high school, one to two hours a week, the task should be manageable. Be sure to pay attention to deadlines. Also, ask about scholarships or grants at the school your child hopes to attend. If youâ€™re awarded a private scholarship, Hicks advises that you ask schools youâ€™re interested in how they allocate such awards. Some schools will reduce the aid theyâ€™ve awarded you. You may need to ask them to use the scholarship to reduce or replace loans, not college grants. Look into state aid as well on your stateâ€™s website. Your child should ask his/her guidance counselor about grants and scholarships for which he/she might be eligible. Consider lower cost state schools, community college for the first two years, or attending college in Canada, (where tuition is reportedly about half as much as at a private liberal arts school in the U.S.).