Paying for college education is one of the best investments a family can make.
For many families, paying for a college education is a large investment. This becomes more manageable with planning. The more you save in advance, the greater the flexibility you will have when it's time to pay for college. Here is why:
Listed below are a number of different resources to help you save money for college:
If the student is a freshman or above in high school, you should estimate how much money the parent will be responsible to pay for college (called the EFC or Expected Family Contribution) by going to CSUMentor's CSU Cost Calculator (CSUCC). Once you have an approximate dollar figure for EFC, you can then determine how much you need to start saving now.
To quickly determine the savings needed to pay for college, go to CSUMentor's College Savings Calculator.
The Golden State ScholarShare plan, also referred to as the "California 529 Plan," is a college saving plan in which you do not pay taxes on the earnings from your contributions. With other types of investments, like savings accounts or mutual funds, you must pay tax on earnings every year. When money from the ScholarShare account is withdrawn to pay for qualified higher education expenses, no federal or California state income taxes are incurred.
The California 529 plan offers you the option to choose from several investment options, including an investment allocation that automatically changes as your child grows up. For further information and an application, please visit the Golden State ScholarShare program's website.
Two other options for investing for college include the Education IRA and Tuition Prepayment Plans. A parent should seek the advice of a financial planner to figure out the best investment options for the family.