When should a family start planning and saving for higher education? Generally, families should start as early as possible, but some families need a bit of help. And, although parents often do a lot of the planning and saving, it might be beneficial to get the kids in on the act.

With the release of three new mobile apps, Sallie Mae believes it has a solution to help parents and kids plan for their educational future. The new apps aim to “make it fun for kids of any age and their parents to plan for higher education.”

The apps are:

  • Big Start teaches preschoolers and elementary schoolers the importance of saving money and encourages college planning conversations with parents.  The app features four interactive sections such as “Little By Little,” which illustrates how taking small steps can help accomplish big goals including saving for college.
  • Big Dreamers is designed to help tweens and teens plan their dream career. The app features a “Career Chaser”that asks questions about kids’ interests, highlights career options suited for them and explains the education required and potential salaries.
  • Max U assists high school students with college prep though its College Compare-izer, FAFSA Checklist and College Cost Cruncher. Max U is the first mobile app designed to help guide high school students with college prep, learn about and apply for financial aid, find the right college, and save for college all in one place.

Martha Holler, senior vice president of Sallie Mae, contends that the apps educate families on important issues.

“It’s never too early for families to start planning for college, yet it can be hard to know when and how to start. To help, we collaborated with 529 plans across the country and created engaging tools that teach young children about saving money, help teens through college prep and inspire families to have important conversations about college and money.”

Max U will likely be of particular interest and use to College Parents of America members. The three apps are available over on Sallie Mae’s college planning website, CollegeAnswer.com and can be used with iPhones and Android.