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College Savings Calculator

Saving for your children's education requires a long-term plan. And, like saving for retirement, the earlier you start your plan the better. Use this calculator to help develop or fine-tune your education savings plan. Click the "View Report" button for a detailed look at the results.

College Savings Calculator Definitions

Age of children
The current age of your children. The difference between their current age and the age they start college is the number of years you have to save.
Age to start education
The age your child will begin college. The default is 18, but this can be any age up to 25.
Annual tuition
The current estimated cost of one year of tuition and books. This amount should be per child and be specific to the school they may be interested in attending. The average published costs of college for the 2019-20 school year (including tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation and other personal expenses) as reported by the College Board:
U.S. Undergraduate College Costs for 2019-20 School Year
Source: College Board's 2019 Trends in College Pricing, www.collegeboard.com
College Type Tuition & FeesRoom & BoardTotalChange from 2018-19
Public 4-Year (in-state tuition)$10,440$11,510$21,9502.7%
Public 4-Year (out-state tuition)$26,820$11,510$38,3302.4%
Private 4-Year$36,880$12,990$49,8702.8%

For the purposes of this calculator all expenses are assumed to be due at the end of the year.

Room and board
The current estimated cost of one-year room and board. Like tuition and books, this amount should be per child and specific to the school they may be interested in attending. For the purposes of this calculator, all expenses are assumed to be due at the end of the year.
Education cost inflation
This is the percentage that you expect educational costs to increase per year. Data provided by The College Board's "Trends in College Pricing 2019" reported tuition, room and board increases at approximately 4.8% annually over the past 10 years. 2019 saw a smaller increase of approximately 2.8%.
Current amount
The total amount you currently have saved for your children's education.
Monthly contributions
The dollar amount you plan to save per month toward your children's education. All amounts are assumed to be added to your account at the beginning of the month.
Rate of return
This is the annually compounded rate of return you expect from your investments. This will also be the rate used if you end up with a negative balance and need to borrow money to meet your goal. The actual rate of return is largely dependent on the types of investments you select. The Standard & Poor's 500® (S&P 500®) for the 10 years ending December 31st 2019, had an annual compounded rate of return of 13.2%, including reinvestment of dividends. From January 1, 1970 to December 31st 2019, the average annual compounded rate of return for the S&P 500®, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 10.7% (source: www.standardandpoors.com). Since 1970, the highest 12-month return was 61% (June 1982 through June 1983). The lowest 12-month return was -43% (March 2008 to March 2009). Savings accounts at a financial institution may pay as little as 0.25% or less but carry significantly lower risk of loss of principal balances.

It is important to remember that these scenarios are hypothetical and that future rates of return can't be predicted with certainty and that investments that pay higher rates of return are generally subject to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments. This includes the potential loss of principal on your investment. It is not possible to invest directly in an index and the compounded rate of return noted above does not reflect sales charges and other fees that investment funds and/or investment companies may charge.