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College Planning

The cost of college

This article shows a breakdown of tuition fees and living costs for different types of colleges and provides several online college savings calculators for planning.
The price tag for sending kids off to college is growing rapidly. That's why it's critical for parents to start thinking about how they're going to pay for higher education as soon as possible. Not only is saving early one of the best ways for parents to foot the college bill, but it can also help to prevent their kids from drowning in debt years after receiving their degree.

Just how much should you save for college?

Here, the College Board report breaks down the average annual college costs - including tuition, fees, and living costs - for 2016-2017:

  • 4-year private:$49,320
  • 4-year public (in-state): $24,610
  • 4-year public (out-of-state): $39,890
  • 2-year public: $17,000
Source: The College Board

Online College Savings Calculators

While the above figures are a good gauge, the college costs will vary between schools, degrees, and the state you live in. A great way to estimate how much you should be saving for college is to use one of the many online college savings calculators. Don't forget to include additional costs such as textbooks, fees, and transportation. Here are our three picks:

  • Boasting as the world's simplest college cost calculator, this one has a lot of great features. Once you navigate through the required fields, you'll have a downloadable PDF report complete with graphs and tables.
  • Bigfuture. This calculator shows you how much money you'll need for college, whether or not you're on track and saving enough, and what you should be doing to reach your goals.
  • This is a basic calculator that can give you an idea of how much you should be saving. It even adjusts for annual increases.

For more information on how to save for college, visit the Protective Learning Center.



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