By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Early decisions and rolling admissions to college are coming in for the high school class of 2013 – now all you gotta do is figure out how to pay for it.

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In 1987, Mike Hayes had a great idea for financing his college education. He wrote to Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Green and asked him to ask all of his readers to send Mike a single penny. In less than a month he’d collect more than 2.3 million pennies and eventually ended up with the $28,000 he needed.

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Don’t know any Chicago Tribune columnists? Here’s what you do need to know.

In 2011, the Federal Government provided $157 billion to more than 15 million students in grants, loans, and work-study aid. And the way to get your share is not as difficult as you may think. If you go to StudentAid.ed.gov, the federal government financial aid portal, you’ll find out about eligibility for federal money and The Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

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You were smart enough to get into college – now here’s help so you can actually get there.