pic on cc license from flickr user 401(k)2013

At least once a year, an article about target numbers for college savings are published on major media websites. A new one came out just this week on Foxbusiness.com. As one can see, this is common territory. But, here at College Parents of America, we think that such articles serve as helpful reminder of how difficult it can be to project out college costs and figuring out your needed amount of savings.

For such purposes, one can find great tools on the internet. CollegeBoard has our favorite college savings needs calculator. It’s fairly straightforward and comes from a reliable source. Just input information about type of school, amount planned to save, years left to save and other basic information, and it will give you an estimate of how much your savings will pay off relative to the cost of a college education.

Sometimes looking at the results of such calculators can be shocking–and not in a good way. Remember, it’s important not to get too scared about saving toward college. If you’re worried, you’re certainly not alone in worrying…

  • 74% of families believe the cost of college is becoming cost prohibitive, while 55% are concerned their children will have to make compromises in the quality of their education due to cost. [2013 Fidelity Investments College Savings Indicator]
  • 78% of parents don’t want to burden their children with hefty student loans, yet 43% of those planning to take out loans do not believe they will be able to secure one to cover the full amount needed to pay their children’s college bill. [2013 Fidelity Investments College Savings Indicator]

…but every dime and dollar stashed away (and hopefully growing in an investment!) on behalf of your children’s education is a worthy contribution toward a better future for your future college grad.