Unfortunately, investing in a college education is seldom inexpensive. College planning has become increasingly important over the last decade, as college costs have skyrocketed at over twice the inflation rate.
College tuition and fees in the United States experienced an average annual inflation rate of 8.7% over the past 20 years, according to Department of Labor statistics. That's 3.8 percent more than the average annual inflation rate of 4.9% during that same period.
The College Board's annual report, Trends in Student Aid 2002, indicates that almost $90 billion in total aid from federal, state, and institutional sources was available to help students in 2001-2002 to assist with tuition, fees, and other expenses of attending college—an increase of 11.5% over the previous year, after adjusting for inflation. Most of this increase, however, was in the form of loans rather than grants, and most of the increased borrowing was unsubsidized.
The U.S. Department of Education estimates that slightly more than one-quarter of fulltime undergraduate students live on campus. According to The College Board, the average in-state tuition costs for 2002-2003 were $4,081 and $18,273 per year for four-year public and private universities, respectively. Room and board charges charges averaged $5,582 for public and $6,779 for private universities. These are real costs that should be looked at carefully when preparing to set aside funds for college.
Often times, because it seems far off in the future, little thought is given as to how to save and plan financially for a college education. However, it is much easier to save while the child is growing up and pay for college from our savings than to attempt to pay for college as the expenses are incurred, out of income.
Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary therefore, the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.