"We always point students to the free application for Federal Student Aid. That should be the first document they complete online in order to apply for any federal funds, grants loans, anything that the federal government can offer," said Marilyn Baker.
Baker, the Director of Financial Aid at Missouri Western State University, said students are always looking for ways to offset the cost of their educational expenses.
About half of Missouri Western students receive Pell Grant Funds, which they get from applying to FASFA online.
"There's all kinds of academic scholarships. So, whatever college or university the student is planning on going to, they should always check out the website at the institution," said Baker.
The annual college cost survey, by student loan giant Sallie Mae, shows how the typical family pays for college.
The average amount, parents paid for tuition, decreased by 35 percent in 2010.
Scholarships and grants made up an average of 30 percent of college costs, which is about $6,300.
"They do need to create a plan. I think the study highlighted that, that really families may not be sitting down and doing what I call a comprehensive college financial plan process," said Jodi Kaus.
Missouri Western freshman, Skylar Glawson, sat down with her parents and decided to split the cost of tuition in half.
"I work at least three times a week and get paid twice a week, and I only have to pay for it once a month, so it's not too bad," Glawson said.
Glawson also said paying for college will teach her how to be more responsible and better manage money in the future.
For a full breakdown of Sallie Mae's survey, click here.