Saving For College

Saving_AA college education is the ticket to the middle class in the United States. But it’s an expensive ticket and the cost rises every year.

The overall annual cost for a college education ranges from about $7,000 for community college to $35,000 for a private school, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Start Early

Those are some scary numbers. But if you have the benefit of time, they’re not as bad as they seem. Here are some steps you can start taking today:

• Go over your monthly finances and find a little extra money you can put away. Even $50 or $100 can make a big difference.
• Make a commitment to devote at least that amount each month, and to add to it as your income increases.
• Shop around for the best interest return you can get for your money.

High Return

Because the cost of college is rising faster than inflation, it’s smart to invest your savings to get a higher interest rate than a typical bank can offer. Consider putting your money into:

• Stocks
• Mutual funds
• Bonds

Help Paying for College

One important thing to keep in mind is that you won’t necessarily have to come up with the entire cost of college. All higher education institutions offer financial aid in the form of grants and loans. These are most often funded by the federal government. But there are also often aid offerings from the state and from the school itself. Be sure to look into all the options available.

Nathaniel Sillin directs Visa’s financial education programs.

Nathaniel Sillin
Nathaniel Sillin is the director of Visa’s financial education programs and a writer for Long Island Weekly.

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