DENVER (KDVR) — Financial planning for college is no easy task. The average annual price tag at a public university is estimated to be more than $22,000, according to the nonprofit College Board.

This estimate includes tuition, room and board, fees and the cost of books into its estimate.

“This is a process that should be planned for ideally at a very early age,” Leelila Strogov, the CEO of AtomicMind said. “College is exceptionally expensive, almost shockingly so.”

Strogov says there are many scholarships out there that can help; some that many families do not know about, including scholarships for nontraditional students.

“Pepsi, Coca-Cola offering scholarships to kids who need it but are exceptional,” Strogov said. “I think the key is encouraging kids to do their best.”

A report coming from Sallie Mae claims that nearly 58% of students have relied on a scholarship to help offset some of the cost of higher education.

Experts say it’s important to break down what scholarships a student could qualify for, meet with school guidance counselors and the prospective university’s financial aid office and consider using an online scholarship search tool.