Saving For College

As the cost of college tuition continues to rise, it's becoming more important than ever to start saving early. However, many families find it difficult to juggle the high cost of living expenses with saving for their child's future education. In this article, we'll discuss some tips and strategies for saving for college that can help you make this goal a reality.
Saving For College

Why is Saving for College Important?

College is a significant investment, and the cost of tuition, room and board, and other expenses can quickly add up. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2020-2021 school year was $10,560 for in-state students at public colleges and $37,650 for private colleges. These costs are projected to continue to rise in the coming years.

While there are student loans and financial aid available, these options can come with high interest rates and may not be enough to cover the full cost of college. By starting to save early, you can help ensure that your child has the resources they need to pursue their educational goals without being burdened by excessive debt after graduation.

How to Start Saving for College

Here are some steps you can take to start saving for college:

  • Set a savings goal: Determine how much you'll need to save to cover the cost of tuition, room and board, and other expenses. Use a college savings calculator to estimate the total cost of attendance and how much you'll need to save each month to reach your goal.
  • Open a 529 plan: A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan specifically designed for college expenses. It allows you to make contributions that grow tax-free and can be withdrawn tax-free when used for qualified education expenses, such as tuition, books, and room and board.
  • Automate your savings: Set up automatic deposits into your college savings account each month. This can help you stay on track with your savings goals and make it easier to budget for other expenses.
  • Consider other savings options: You may also want to explore other savings options, such as custodial accounts, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, or savings bonds.

The Pros and Cons of Saving for College

Like any financial decision, there are both advantages and disadvantages to saving for college. Here are some of the pros and cons:


  • Less debt after graduation
  • Greater flexibility in choosing a college or major
  • Tax benefits through a 529 plan


  • Opportunity cost of not investing in other areas
  • Uncertainty about future college costs
  • Potential loss of financial aid eligibility


Q: What if I can't save enough for college?

A: There are other options available, such as student loans, scholarships, and grants. It's important to explore all of your options and make a plan that works for your family's financial situation.

Q: Can I use a 529 plan for non-college expenses?

A: While a 529 plan is designed for college expenses, it can also be used for other qualified education expenses, such as trade schools and vocational programs.

Q: What happens if my child doesn't go to college?

A: If your child decides not to attend college, you can transfer the funds to another family member or withdraw the money with a penalty.

Q: Can grandparents contribute to a 529 plan?

A: Yes, grandparents can contribute to a 529 plan, but it's important to understand how these contributions may affect financial aid eligibility.

By starting to save early and exploring your options, you can help make college more affordable for your family. Whether you choose a 529 plan or another savings option, remember that every dollar you save can make a difference in your child's future.