This calculator will help you to determine how much money you need to invest on a monthly basis now, in order to be able to pay for your child's college education by the time they are ready to start college. You can either enter your own current estimated annual college cost, or select a degree type and the calculator will enter the cost for you based on a recent survey conducted by the The College Board. Plus, the calculator even adjusts the future cost of attending college based on your own estimated rate of inflation.
Projected Total Four-Year Costs of Attending College: Costs are based on The College Board's Annual Survey of Colleges for the 2012-2013 school year and include tuition and fees, room and board, transportation, books, and other expenses. The costs are enrollment-weighted and inflated based upon your selected estimated annual rate of inflation. The calculator assumes no additional investments or earnings once the child starts school.
The large text box will display detailed instructions/information when clicking in or tabing into any text box.
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Smart College Planning Starts Early
It is never too early to get started on funding your child's college career. At least this is the first piece of advice you will see for nearly all college savings accounts, such as the ever popular 529 college savings plan. True, it is never too early to put money aside for future collegiate expenses, but just how are you as a parent, student, or close family relative supposed to know how much money is enough of an investment? And for how long prior to the anticipated start of college can it be invested? These questions are fair game for the college funding calculator which is fortunately a whiz at taking in all the relevant information concerning the college financing game and distilling it into a few understandable figures that will guide you on where to go from there.
What Goes Into the Costs of College
While it is impossible to compute the exact total tuition and expenses that you will incur because of you or your child's college career simply because there are so many unknown variables, the college funding calculator comes fairly close. By utilizing data from the College Board, the well known national organization that is a resource on everything from pre-college SAT tests to degree rankings, you can have your college costs estimated for you depending on what kind of degree you are seeking. Your degree choice varies according to whether you are attending a public or private university for two or four years, and whether you will be attending as an in or out of state student who lives on or off campus.
On the other hand, if you have an accurate figure on hand of what you expect your college expenses to be, you are welcome to give the calculator that information instead. Keep in mind that the figure is all inclusive of tuition, room and board, books, fees such as gym and lab costs, travel expenses and emergency expenditures. The actual cost of your college years all told will likely come extremely close to this figure, provided that the degree earned is the same as the degree proposed.
Other pertinent information that will determine what your time and money gap is between now and the beginning of college will include your current savings total dedicated to university, the number of years expected before starting schooling, inflation, outside funding, and any relevant investments that will be producing a yield. Since so much does depend on inflation as it fluctuates the costs of everything from textbooks to travel, the calculator will adjust the cost of your college career based on current and proposed inflation.
The total savings gap is the most important figure you will likely be interested in once the tool has completed its computations. This is the difference between the cost of the college career and what you currently have saved. You will be well off if you consider the monthly contribution figure as the minimum amount that you ought to now begin setting aside for the 529 or other education savings account. The calculator will inform you what percentage of your annual income this monthly sum will amount to, so that you are prepared for the new bill that will reduce the savings gap monthly and bring you to your goal amount.