You probably know that the cost of attending college is going up every year. But do you know what college really costs? Even if your child is a newborn, you had better get this information now so you can develop a plan to pay for escalating costs well before the day your child starts applying to colleges. If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you are well on the way to avoiding a huge financial surprise in the future.
1. Do you know how much it costs today to attend your state’s university (tuition, room and board, and miscellaneous expenses)? (If not, visit the school’s Website.)
2. Can you answer question 1 for a local college, a community college or a private school?
3. Do you know how much your family would be expected to contribute even if your child receives financial aid? (If not, visit a Website such as www.finaid.org that lets you calculate what your contribution would be today.)
4. Do you know what type of financial aid might be available to reduce your actual out-of-pocket costs? (If not, visit a financial aid Website such as the one above.)
5. Do you know how you can start putting money away today for tomorrow’s college costs? (If not, find out about the 529 College Savings Plan at www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/intro529.htm.)