Saving for College

It has long been said that a college education is the ticket to a career with financial stability in the United States. But it can be an expensive ticket and the cost rises every year.

According to the College Board:

  • The average in‐state tuition and fees for public four‐year institutions increased 2.4% to $9,650 per year, and the total tuition, fees and room and board charges are $20,090.
  • The average out-of-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions rose 3.6% to $24,930. Average total charges are $35,370.
  • The average tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year institutions increased 3.6% to $33,480. Average total charges are $45,370.
  • The average in-district tuition and fees at public two-year colleges rose 2.3% to $3,520.

Those are some scary numbers. But if you have the benefit of time, they're not as bad as they seem. You can take steps today to start saving for college. Browse the tabs below to help build your college savings plan.

Start Early

The key to saving for college is to start early.

  • Go over your monthly finances and find a little extra money you can put away. Even $25, $50 or $100 can make a big difference.
  • Make a commitment to devote at least that amount each month, and to add to it as your income increases. This can be a part of your monthly spending plan.
  • Shop around for the best interest return you can get for your money. Banks and credit unions may offer interest on a savings account. They may also offer other interest-bearing accounts that can increase your savings over time.

High Return

Because the cost of college is rising, it may be a good idea to invest some of your savings into financial products that offer a higher interest rate than a typical bank or credit union can offer. Consider putting your money into:

  • Stocks
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds

A financial advisor or planner can assist you in making the right decision. Check the Office of Financial Regulation’s site to ensure an advisor is registered with the state -

Help Paying for College

Along with saving, you may be able to receive assistance with paying for college. All higher education institutions offer financial aid in the form of grants and loans and other organizations may offer scholarships. Grants and loans are most often funded by the federal government. But there are also often aid offerings from the state and from the school itself.

Don't forget to research and apply for scholarships. A scholarship is money that you do not have to pay back and is offered to students by schools, non-profit organizations, employers, private companies and other organizations. Reach out to your school's financial aid office for assistance with finding scholarships. Be sure to look into all the options available.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Paying for College website has information to help you make informed financial decisions. Click here for information on understanding student loan repayment, tips to help you compare financial aid offers and much more!

The Economy and the Labor Market

Visit your local workforce development board for free career counseling and resources. It is also a good idea to use the Employ Florida Marketplace website and look at the career information that is specific to Florida.

Use the financial information to plug into our Education Calculators and get a good idea of what the salary will be for your chosen career, the cost of training and education, and available educational institutions in Florida that you can attend.

University or State College?

Another way to save for college is to consider the cost of a university versus a state college. State colleges typically cost less than a university, while some offer the same programs of study. Attending a state college will give you some time to transition into this new phase of your life. Also, getting accepted into a Florida university tends to be a bit easier if you have gone through the state college system.


Natural Disaster Recovery in College | Disaster Recovery for College Students

The aftermath of a disaster is a challenge for anyone, but for students living away from home, it may leave them feeling particularly vulnerable. It is important for you to prepare for a disaster and to know what steps to take after one occurs. Most colleges and universities have disaster plans in place; be sure to check your school’s website for its disaster instructions.

For additional tips to help college students before and after a disaster, visit Affordable College Online’s Recovering from a Natural Disaster in College guide.


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Overwhelmed by student debt?

It is now easier than ever to create a personalized path to affordable monthly student loan payments with the use of the CFPB's Payback Playbook. This is a tool that helps borrowers gain a better understanding of the repayment options available to them for paying off their student debt. View the full article to learn more.