A 529 plan is a state-sponsored education savings program that allows an individual to save in a tax-deferred account to pay for a beneficiary's post-secondary education at any accredited school in the United States. Unlike Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, which excludes joint filers with adjusted gross incomes (AGIs) above $220,000 and single filers with AGIs above $110,000, there are no income restrictions on those contributing to the plan.

Over 85% of the nation's schools offer various types of scholarship, granting money to college students based on a host of criteria such as academic merit, financial need, and in some cases, racial or ethnic background.

Though the application process can be complicated and redundant between scholarships, there is a great deal of money available for those who are willing to jump through the right hoops and prove their merit and/or need.