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Oct 29, 2016 10:41 AM EDT

Saving Tips for the Expensive Cost of Going to College

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When discussing about going to college and getting higher education, the topic about money is never far behind. College is already pretty expensive with varying costs based on certain factors like the financial need, the school type and academic merit. These costs are expected to change and if you have a child, or planning to have one, it's never too early to save to make college a bit more affordable in the future. Just imagine the time frame that you have left to achieve that expensive goal.

Here are some ways to start saving up for your child's education and take advantage of the college plans available.

529 College Plans. The 529 college savings plan which is also known as Qualified Tuition Programs is offered in more than 30 states. You just have to invest after-tax money into the plan and then you will be able to withdraw the funds for valid education expenses including the books and the tuition fee. However, you cannot distribute the funds if your child does not end up taking college but you can transfer the account to another beneficiary in the family.

Roth IRA. Roth IRA can be used as a college saving tool, although it is primarily used as a retirement savings account. Just like 529 college plan, you can contribute after tax money and have it withdrawn afterwards. However, there is a limitation when it comes to the contributions, as you can only contribute $5,500 per year, and will not be allowed to contribute if your modified adjustment gross income is over $194,000.

Coverdell ESA. The Coverdell Education Savings Account is also similar to 529 college plans, where you can withdraw the money you have invested if they are going to be used for qualified educational expenses. The only difference is that it can also cover even the private school tuition. The limitations with Coverdell is that your contribution limit is only $2000 per year per child and that the funds if not used to education cannot be distributed but can be transferred to a beneficiary.

It can be pretty daunting to think about saving up for college, but starting while it's early can certainly make a difference.

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