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College savings success stories: The Rickman family

Posted: 2014-04-11

by Kathryn Flynn

College savings success stories: The Rickman family

Here at, we provide families with information on the best ways to save early and often for college. To ensure that we are delivering an effective message, we encourage parents to share their stories in the “How did you get your kids through college?” section of our message board.

The forum was designed as a resource for families who are wondering how they will ever be able to afford college. We’d like to thank all of the parents who have graciously contributed with details on what worked and what didn’t work for them, no matter where they are in the process.

This is the first of a series of blog posts looking back at success stories that were shared via the message board. In the coming weeks, we will continue to highlight how real families have dealt with (and are currently dealing with) the rising costs of education. We all know saving for college can be tricky, so if you have any advice for families who are new to the game we would love to hear from you.

Share your success story here!

Congratulations to the Rickman Family on your college savings success!

The Rickman Family
Parents: Theresa and Dave
Kids: Jessica, Tina, Jacen
Location: Maryland, U.S.
Savings strategy: 529 plan

Original Post - January 6, 2014

"I have 3 children. My eldest daughter (Jessica) started down at FSU, which was running 35K a year between the sorority, the out of state tuition and room and board... I significantly drained the 529 account down during this initial period. At Christmas during her sophomore year I told her transfer to UMD, and I will pay for it, or you will have to get loans for the difference. UMD in-state is 5K for tuition a semester.

She came home, which cut the costs from 35K to 17K a year (I did pay for an apartment). From then on it was in-state all the way.

Second daughter (Tina) was accepted to UMD for spring, and freshman connection for fall. I was able to send her to LONDON with UMD in-state rates for freshman connection for LESS than I sent my first daughter down to FSU.

In-state all the way. I have one more to put through, and I simply told them you are getting in to UMD and that is where you are going. Period.

135K is what I spent on the first kid. Second kid is much less because she is going in-state.

One more kid to go (Jacen)... (hoping he gets in !)*.

Make sure you multiple by 4 when you figure the numbers out, and by the number of children !"

Update - April 7, 2014

*Jacen was accepted to UMD for Freshman connection (Spring) as well. He is also applying to study abroad for Fall with UMD (in London).

Photo credit: Theresa Rickman

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