The High Costs of College

imgres-1My son (yes, the one who tried to give away the cat on Facebook) is in his third year of college. We began his college savings soon after he was born — and our daughter’s too. I asked the grandparents if instead of buying toys and clothing for Christmas and birthdays, could they send a check for their college accounts? One grandparent thought that was a horrific idea and how tacky of me to ask! The others said, “Great! What a good idea!”

When you have small children, you may notice how overboard the gifts get in proportion to the little guys, and how quickly the toys are overlooked, broken, and the clothing outgrown. A contribution to the college account is a present forever. Your child can help select investments as they grow older, track their account’s growth, and participate in the education of preparing for college.

You know your own relatives best and if this idea is an option for you. Of course, we were the major contributors to the college savings, but it’s nice to have help while saving for hundreds of thousands of dollars for an education!


Do you know how much college costs these days? My son is in a public university in California and it’s about $30,000 per year. If he went to a private university, it would be closer to $60,000. I’ve read that a few schools in our state are closer to $75,000 per year. What will it be years from now, when your kids are in school?

Do you know the difference between college savings plans? 529s, UGMA/UMTAs and Coverdells? Which is best for you? As the wife of a financial advisor for 25 years — if you have questions — I advise you to ask a financial advisor for help. They help families prepare for milestones like college planning and retirement.

Here are links to helpful resources.

Comparing College Savings Plans

How Much is a College Education Worth? 

Inflation and College Costs 

College costs through the years

8 thoughts on “The High Costs of College

  1. We tried to get people to contribute to college fund. I got responses I can’t repeat on a pg 13 blog. My kid is a hs junior. My head is spinning…

  2. Early on, I recognized the same thing you did around stuff. My family is fortunate enough that there is stuff. So when they were young, I started college savings accounts (529’s) for all my nieces and nephews. They’ve been very useful, and for the two who had wealthy grandparents on both sides of their family and didn’t much need the funds aside from a new printer or textbook, I’ve been able to roll the funs to some of their cousins, for more assistance, or in one case, grad school.Its been a much appreciated gift, as much less if any debt was incurred.
    And along the way, I had “adventures” for birthdays–we might go out to lunch, for a hike, to a play–something that is one on one time so I could get to know these young folks better.

  3. Q1: Is college with it today? No longer passes honest cost-benefit analysis for about 80% of high school grads.

    Q2: what’s the alternative for good job & secure future? That’s a work in progress gaining increasing attention today.

    We have ideas.
    (When 1/2 drop out & 2/3 who do graduate don’t use their degrees, it’s time for new ideas)

  4. Went to a post-high school mtg w granddaughter, a junior. 1 hr, 20 min on college options; 8 min on student loans; < 2 min on edu alternatives (go to a trade school).

    We have ideas.
    IF my granddaughter chooses 1 yr intensive “hard skills” tng while paid to work in her field, she will save $10k cash, while living at home (I’ll match it), into Roth IRA contributed over 2 yrs. (IF she never adds to it, she’ll have $600k-$1million as retirement nest egg AND learn how to invest.). And she’ll start career job at $40k+, w future tng ladders that can take her to $100k+.
    (Upon tng completion, I’ll pay $10k for 3-4 months foreign travel & mission work where she can perfect her foreign language & learn a culture & more about her religion.)

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