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How to Save for College Education

Aside from purchasing a home, a college education is quickly becoming the second largest single expense most people will undertake.

Tuition expenses alone have risen over the past few years due to declining state budgets and a reduction in private funding. The average cost of tuition at a state college or university is approximately $20,000 for four years. Tuition expense for four years at a private college is now upwards of $100,000. Both of these figures don’t even take into account the cost of room and board, or textbooks and school supplies.

Knowing that cost is one of the largest preventers when it comes to attending school, it's never too early to start saving for college. Some adults believe it’s best to start saving once their children are born, while others are comfortable starting at 5 or 6 years old.

If your child is already in middle or high school and you haven’t started saving for college, it’s time for you to sit down with them and make some choices. If attending college is likely in their future, you will want to decide where you can make adjustments to your budget to allow for greater savings each month. Depending on your income and the amount of time you have before they reach college, you may want to consider having your child devote a portion of their savings each month to a college fund.

Regardless of when you start saving, research the best options to increase your savings potential. Consider high-yield Share Certificates instead of keeping the money in your Regular Share Account. Since you shouldn’t need to access the money on a regular basis, you can benefit from the higher dividend rates.

During their senior year of high school, make sure your child is researching all scholarship opportunities available through their high school, community and future college. Several national corporations also offer need-based scholarships. View SallieMae for a list of more than 3 million scholarships.