The biggest challenge of attending a college is getting into classes, and while that’s probably not an insurmountable one, you may want to start thinking about what you can do to pay it off.

That’s because while you can pay for college through tuition and fees, you also may be eligible for federal loans and other financial aid, and the average annual cost of college has increased more than fivefold since 2008, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

That means you may be able to afford a college degree if you can find a way to finance it, but there are some steps you can take to make sure you’re covered.

If you can’t find out how to do that, here are the steps you need to take to get yourself covered.

1.

Find out how much you need in loans You can search the federal government’s loan programs by choosing from the drop-down menu below the name of your school.

The average annual amount you’ll need to borrow for your degree depends on the type of school you’re attending, as well as the cost of attendance, which is generally the amount of time you spend in classes.

The easiest way to figure out how many loans you’ll have to pay back is to use a calculator.

You can enter in the exact amount of money you’ll be borrowing to figure your loan payment.

This is especially useful if you’re going to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

2.

Understand how much aid you’ll receive When you sign up for financial aid programs, you can choose to enroll in a federal student loan repayment plan, which covers interest and other payments.

You’ll need this type of loan repayment to cover your cost of attending college, and your payment will automatically be made if you do.

If your school doesn’t offer one of these plans, you’ll also have to make a payment to your federal student aid office.

3.

Make a plan to pay down debt Once you’ve completed all of the steps above, it’s time to start putting money toward paying your college tuition.

If, however, you’re eligible for a federal loan repayment, you don’t have to worry about paying off your loans before you graduate.

To do so, you will need to: Make payments toward the cost for attending your school, and if you qualify for financial assistance, pay off any outstanding loans that may have been taken out on your behalf.