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Smart Savers Blog

How Much Should I Save for College?

Many families struggle with the concept — and reality — of saving for college. It’s no secret that the cost of college continues to climb every year. Although there’s no way to know for sure what college costs will look like in the next decade or more, tuition and fees have climbed roughly five percent per year over the past ten years. According to The College Board, tuition and fees for the 2019–2020 school year averaged:

  • $36,880 at private colleges
  • $10,440 at public in-state colleges
  • $26,820 at public out-of-state colleges

Wow! Pretty scary, right?  But consider that these numbers don't even include room and board, which can add $10,000 or more per year to the cost of higher education. Plus, you may need to save for multiple children and different types of educational paths (graduate, law, maybe medical school), so the amount you'll ultimately need could vary greatly.   

The good news is that by calculating future costs, putting a savings plan in place, and taking advantage of pre-college opportunities like taking college courses while in high school, your family could fill the gap between rapidly rising tuition and financial independence for your children.

A 529 plan is one of the best ways to save for college, and Virginia529 offers a number of savings calculators to help your family determine how much you want to save — and can afford — for your child’s higher education.

Use our college savings tools to:

  • Estimate the cost of higher education, set your saving priorities and determine a monthly contribution to reach your goal
  • Compare the overall cost impact of starting to save now versus waiting a year or more
  • Explore your potential financial aid eligibility and compare the impact of savings contributed by parents versus a student

Plan Your Saving Strategy

Resources to help you learn

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most common questions about 529 plans.

Smart Savers Academy

Tune in to a live episode and ask questions of the presenter, or watch a previously recorded webinar below.

Invest529 Portfolio Performance

Review and compare historical returns of Invest529 portfolios.