Saving for College

Education is an investment that pays a lifetime of dividends. Over a lifetime, someone with a bachelor's degree will earn on average $900,000 more than a person with no education beyond high school.

However, the up-front cost of college is a significant challenge for most students and their families. Providing for a child's college education is one of the largest costs many families will face.

Financial aid does not usually cover all the costs of a university education. In addition, grant and loan programs can change over time, in terms of eligibility and money available for distribution. Scholarships are not available to everyone. It makes sense to do what you can now to begin saving for college.

Saving Strategies

  1. Find out how much a UW education will cost. Estimate a budget that includes tuition and fees, books, transportation, housing, food, miscellaneous costs, and emergency expenses. Current tuition costs for UW campuses are available in the tuition and fees area.
  2. Develop a savings plan. It is important to save as much as your circumstances allow, but any amount you save is a step in the right direction. Breaking it down into installments that are manageable for your budget is a good way to get started.
  3. Investigate all options and consult other resources that may offer assistance on how to set up a savings plan, such as your local bank, credit union, savings and loan, public library or a financial planner. The two sections below offer some Web resources that offer more assistance on starting a college savings plan.

Setting and Achieving a Goal

Finaid.org : Extensive and in-depth information about saving for college.

Forecasting College Costs : This college costs projector can provide an estimate of what college will cost in the future—with some assumptions about what the future holds for higher education.

Savings Growth Projector : Project how much your current savings will be worth over a given period of time with a specific interest rate.

Yahoo Finance : Personal finance information and advice about how to start saving for college.

College Savings Plans : 529 plan information for all 50 states.

Deposits, Investments - There's a Critical Difference :  Basic information about different types of investment products. It also explains under what circumstances investments are guaranteed by the federal government.

Savingforcollege.com: An analysis of all 529 plans the ability to compare 529 plans.

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