COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

Paying for college

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The magic number for college savings

Learn how much to invest each month in a 529 college savings plan to cover future costs of tuition, fees and room and board for private and public schools.

| saving for college | | 529 plan | | paying for college | | contribution | | savings goal | | cost of college | | monthly savings target |
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Just announced: Best 529 plans for 2015

Ever wonder how your 529 college savings plan stacks up against the competition? One way to evaluate how your plan is performing is to check Morningstar's latest 529 plan ratings.

| Best 529 plans | | saving for college | | paying for college | | Morning Star | | 529 plan ratings | | best 529 plans | | choosing a 529 plan |
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Tuition prices of top football colleges: AP Top 25 Poll

Since a football scholarship might not be in everyone’s future, we’ve listed the tuition prices of the schools that made up the AP Top 25 Poll in week eight.

| college | | college tuition | | paying for college | | college football | | cost of college |
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7 myths and realities of 529 plans

Although 529 college savings accounts have been around for years, there are common misconceptions about the plans. Learn the truth behind these seven myths and you'll set yourself up for smarter college investing.

| 529 plan | | 529 plans | | college savings | | myths | | saving for college | | paying for college |
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4 things you can do to get ready for student loan repayment

When your first student loan statement arrives in the mail, you'll want to be prepared so that you – and your budget – will be ready to make your first payment on time. These four steps will help get you ready for your first student loan payment.

| student loans | | paying for college | | student debt | | student loan repayment |
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76 percent of families have college funds by first grade

According to new data from the College Savings Foundation, more and more parents are saving for college while their child is still very young. Here's why starting to save early and using a 529 plan is a winning combination.

| saving for college | | college savings month | | 529 plan | | parenting | | paying for college |
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Student loan refinancing tips, myths and savings

We all know that you can refinance a mortgage or even an auto loan, but consumers are just starting to realize that you can refinance student loans, too. And if you know where to look the savings can really add up.

| paying for college | | student loans | | student loan refinancing | | cost of college |
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5 types of students who benefit from 529 plans

No matter what "type" of student you’re saving for, a 529 plan can be an excellent way to plan for college expenses. Click through our slideshow to see how a variety of students can each benefit from a 529 plan.

| 529 plan | | slideshow | | scholarships | | qualified expenses | | financial aid | | grandparents | | paying for college | | college costs |
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How 7 different assets can affect your financial aid eligibility

Before you fill out the FASFA, learn how seven different assets, including 529 college savings plans, can impact your federal financial aid eligibility.

| financial aid | | FAFSA | | CSS profile | | grandparents | | paying for college | | student loans | | saving for college | | college savings options | | grants |
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6 ways you can save for college

To help those families out there who may not have all the time they want to research their options for saving for college, we’ve listed six common ways you can start a college fund, and the biggest pros and cons of each.

| 529 plan | | mutual funds | | coverdell ESA | | Roth IRA | | UGMA/UTMA | | custodial accounts | | saving for college | | paying for college | | the best way to save for college |
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The best way to withdraw 529 funds

It will soon be time to pay your bill for fall semester expenses! Here is some advice for how much and when to withdraw 529 plan funds, and also some tips on designating the distributee.

| 529 funds | | withdraw | | 529 plan | | money | | qualified expenses | | 529 plan withdrawals | | paying for college |
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Is student debt motivating young parents to save for college?

While the common perception is that student debt is a barrier to college savings, new survey data suggests it may actually have a positive effect on young parents' drive save for college.

| young parents | | saving for college | | student loans | | student debt | | paying for college | | survey | | survey data | | paying off debt |
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100 weird scholarship ideas

Worried that your student is out of the running to receive scholarships to help pay for college? Fear not! There is plenty of scholarship money out there - you might just have to get a little creative.

| paying for college | | 529 plan | | scholarships | | unique scholarships | | student | | college | | college tuition | | Penny Hoarder |
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4 ways to get your kids involved with saving for college

Looking for ways to get your kids involved in saving for their future college education while they're young? Here are some creative ideas that have worked for other families.

| saving for college | | kids | | paying for college | | family finance | | students | | working through college |
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Top 5 mistakes to avoid when using a Coverdell ESA

If you want to start saving for elementary school, high school, or college, a Coverdell is one of your best options. But before you decide to open an account, be sure to look out for these five common pitfalls.

| coverdell esa | | coverdell | | mistakes using a coverdell | | saving for college | | paying for college |
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10 easy ways grandparents can help pay for college

One way grandparents can help their grandchildren on their journey to becoming successful adults is to help fund their college education. Here are ten ways to do this, and the risks and benefits of each.

| grandparents | | saving for college | | paying for college | | financial aid | | coverdell | | 529 plan | | loan | | trust | | grandchild | | estate planning |
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Saving for college? These 6 mistakes can cost you

Parents can maximize their child’s education savings by learning about 529 plan rules and avoiding these six costly college planning mistakes.

| saving for college | | paying for college | | 529 plans | | qualified higher education expenses | | savings goals | | financial aid | | scholarships | | American Opportunity Tax Credit |
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Can I use my 529 plan to buy electronics?

A question that’s been on the minds of families for some time now is whether or not “supplies and equipment” includes electronics such as computers, smartphones and tablets.

| 529 plan | | saving for college | | paying for college | | qualified expenses | | computers | | 529 plan withdrawals | | room and board |
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5 characteristics of high school students heading to college

Students are more concerned than ever about the price of college and many are trying to avoid student loans. Here's a breakdown of why they're so motivated, and what they're doing to make their dreams a reality.

| student loans | | paying for college | | 529 plan | | college | | college student | | high school | | high school graduate |
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College Savings Timeline: New beginnings

For those of you who are about to enter the world of parenthood – Congratulations! Believe it or not, this is the ideal time to start a college savings fund. Here are five steps to get started today.

| 529 plan | | 529 plans | | college savings | | new baby | | saving for college | | paying for college |
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7 things you may not know about student loan repayment

If you're one of the 40 million Americans who currently have an outstanding student loan, click through this slideshow to see seven important facts about how repayments work.

| student loans | | financial aid | | paying for college | | loans |
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Is it a mistake not to hire a financial planner?

When it comes to planning and saving for college, some families prefer to endure the journey alone, but others are willing to pay for professional guidance. DIY college planning may work for some, but here are 6 things you might be missing out on by not utilizing a financial professional.

| saving for college | | financial planning | | financial planner | | financial advisor | | paying for college | | 529 plan | | planning for college |
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Can 529 savings be used to pay for summer courses?

Taking summer courses is a great way for students to get ahead and possibly graduate sooner. And yes, you can pay for most summer classes with 529 savings and still maximize tax benefits. Here are a few things to consider:

| 529 plan | | paying for college | | 529 plan withdrawals | | qualified expenses | | summer school | | cost of attendance |
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The 10 states with the fastest rising college tuition

Tuition prices have been rising across the country, but some states have experienced sharper increases than others. If you're planning to send your child to one of the following ten states, you might want to consider increasing your 529 plan contributions.

| 529 plan | | cost of college | | tuition | | paying for college | | state appropriations | | higher education | | highest tuition | | upromise |
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529 Day Webcast - Meet the experts

Don't miss our 529 Day Webcast taking place on May 29th! Learn more about the panel of leading industry experts who will be answering your college savings questions.

| 529 day | | 529 plans | | college savings | | college savings experts | | ny times | | Forbes | | Tara Siegel Bernard | | Lynn O'Shaughnessy | | Joseph Hurley | | Troy Onink | | saving for college | | paying for college | | webcast |
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5 groovy college lessons from Mad Men

AMC's hit period-drama 'Mad Men' is coming to an end! For a fun twist before the finale, take a look at this list of lessons that can be learned about saving for college from our favorite Mad Men characters.

| saving for college | | higher education | | Mad Men | | AMC | | paying for college | | women in college | | 1970s | | military | | adult education | | 529 plan |
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9 tips on getting into an Ivy League School

Getting accepted to that dream Ivy League college can be difficult, but it's not impossible. Here are some tips on navigating the admissions process from International College Counselors CEO Mandee Heller Adler.

| college | | high school | | college application | | paying for college | | ivy league | | private school | | univerity |
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Are you a financially savvy parent?

As a parent, you have a lot to think about on a daily basis - but how much thought are you giving to your household finances? Start here by taking this quiz to find out if your family finances are on the right track!

| personal finance | | parenting | | savings | | paying for college | | saving for college | | quiz |
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529 reasons to save for college with a 529 plan

We're celebrating 529 Day this year in a BIG way by compiling a list of 529 reasons to open a 529 plan! To kick things off, here are some great reasons from a few of our favorite industry experts.

| 529 plan | | 529 Day | | college savings | | 529 college savings plan | | saving for college | | paying for college | | May 29 |
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9 ways America's college savings habits have changed

Sallie Mae's 2015 'How America Pays For College' report is fairly consistent with 2014's findings in how American families prepare for the costs of higher education. Here are 9 changes in some saving attitudes and behaviors that we thought we worth noting.

| college savings | | Sallie Mae | | 529 plan | | parents | | college | | paying for college | | cost of college |
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Ask an expert: Can I use 529 plan funds to pay for college and get the American Opportunity Tax Credit?

The IRS rules regarding the coordination of 529 plan withdrawals and education tax credits can get a little tricky. Marguerita Cheng elaborates on this frequently-asked question.

| 529 plan | | education tax credit | | American Opportunity Tax credit | | 529 plan withdrawals | | paying for college | | taxes | | ask an expert |
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How to pay off student loan debt while saving for the future

Over 40 million Americans have student loan debt. Is it possible to build savings while paying down your loans? Guest blogger Robert Farrington, Founder of The College Investor, tells us how.

| student loans | | student debt | | paying for college | | saving for college | | graduates | | retirement |
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Mint.com expert interview on paying for college

We recently had the opportunity to share our advice on funding higher education with Mint.com in their Expert Interview series. In honor of Financial Literacy Month, read though this interview to learn some great tips on the best ways to pay for college.

| paying for college | | funding college | | higher education | | cost of college | | saving for college | | Mint | | interview | | student loans |
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How to pass the college affordability test (CAT)

Many students and parents invest time and money preparing for the SAT and ACT but don’t give much forethought to passing their own college affordability test (CAT). Wendy David-Gaines discusses ways families can begin prepping for their own CAT.

| paying for college | | saving for college | | college affordability | | college tuition | | higher education |
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10 things you can learn about saving for college from Game of Thrones

What can Jon Snow, Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister teach you about planning for college? Find out in this fun Game of Thrones slideshow.

| Game of Thones | | saving for college | | paying for college | | student loans | | estate taxes | | 529 plans | | cost of college | | college savings calculators |
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Will a high school part-time job help with college admissions?

A part-time job can have a big impact on a student’s college application and could even influence their career path for years to come. Ryan Hickey, Managing Editor of Peterson's, shares four key questions that students should consider when looking for a part-time job.

| paying for college | | part time job | | saving for college | | college admissions |
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What is your state doing to promote saving for college?

As tuition prices continue to skyrocket, many states are actively trying to raise awareness about the importance of saving for college. At this year's College Savings Foundation Conference, representatives from several states shared their thoughts with us on the best ways to promote saving for college.

| 529 plans | | college savings | | states | | MEFA | | NEST | | FAME | | planning for college | | paying for college | | matching grants |
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Ask an expert: How do grandparent-owned 529 plans affect financial aid eligibility?

Matthew Toner of Savingforcollege.com responds to the frequently asked-about topic of grandparent-owned 529 accounts and their effect on financial aid eligibility.

| grandparent-owned 529 plans | | 529 plans | | financial aid | | financial aid eligibility | | FAFSA | | paying for college |
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How to save for college in the Sweet Sixteen states

It’s March Madness time! In honors of tonight’s first round of games between the Sweet 16 bracket, we’ve put together a slideshow highlighting the teams by state, and the 529 college savings plans offered by each state.

| saving for college | | march madness | | sweet sixteen | | paying for college | | cost of college | | tuition | | scholarship | | basketball |
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Does your employer help you save for college?

Many workers feel that help with saving for college is a key piece missing from their benefits package. Kathryn Flynn and Christian Duffus of LEAF College Savings discuss why we rarely see college savings plans offered as employee benefits.

| saving for college | | employee benefits | | college savings plans | | 529 plans | | college savings | | paying for college |
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Little Einsteins flock to the White House Science Fair

This year's annual White House Science Fair highlighted the President's 'Educate to Innovate' Campaign, part of the larger initiative to make college a reality for more students.

| White house | | Obama | | saving for college | | 529 plans | | science fair | | education | | paying for college |
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Will the Student Aid Bill of Rights help your family?

Last week President Obama signed a presidential memorandum outlining a plan intended to help dissolve the student debt crisis. The Student Aid Bill of Rights focuses on four key issues related to helping students pay for college and helping graduates manage and repay their student loans.

| financial aid | | student loans | | student debt | | paying for college | | cost of college | | saving for college |
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5 secrets to winning a college scholarship

The assumption that one has to be a perfect 4.0 student to win college scholarships has stopped a lot of talented students from even applying. Here are five secrets to winning a college scholarship that award recipients swear by.

| scholarships | | paying for college | | cost of college | | winning a scholarship | | gpa |
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15 facts about financial aid eligibility

Feeling overwhelmed by the process of applying for financial aid? Fear not! These fifteen facts can help you determine how much financial aid you may be eligible for.

| financial aid | | FAFSA | | CSS profile | | grandparents | | paying for college | | student loans | | saving for college | | college savings options | | grants |
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Nine reasons why every 'Modern Family' needs a 529 plan

The following slideshow looks at one of America’s favorite unconventional families and how each member can enjoy the benefits of a 529 plan.

| saving for college | | paying for college | | 529 plans | | Modern Family | | saving for multiple children | | five year election | | college savings |
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Understanding your student loans and how to repay them

With so many loan repayment options out there it’s important for borrowers to explore all of their repayment options and make sure they find the plan that best fits their needs and their budget. NerdScholar's Alexandra Rice shares some tips.

| student loans | | financial aid | | student loan repayment | | paying for college | | cost of college |
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The Penny Hoarder talks about saving and paying for college

Kyle Taylor, founder of The Penny Hoarder blog, shares some tips for parents, college students, and recent grads on ways to earn, save, and grow money.

| saving for college | | paying for college | | the penny hoarder | | smart tips | | personal finance |
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10 things we love most about 529 plans

Getting to college without going into excessive debt isn’t easy, but it’s also not impossible. Here are 10 reasons why we think 529 plans are the most effective way for families to save for college.

| 529 plan | | college savings | | saving for college | | paying for college | | tax benefits | | financial aid | | contribution limits | | fees and expenses |
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7 ways the 2016 fiscal year budget could affect higher education

This week, the Obama administration released a 2016 fiscal year budget request, which details the President's plan to make education and job training top priorities. This slideshow lists the impact the proposed budget could have on certain areas of higher education.

| 529 plans | | saving for college | | paying for college | | student loans | | financial aid | | pell grant | | FAFSA | | higher education |
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Automatic scholarships: New way to impact college planning

Looking for scholarships to help pay for college? Learn how the Raise.me platform helps students earn automatic "micro-scholarships" towards participating colleges for every milestone they achieve throughout high school.

| scholarships | | paying for college | | micro scholarships | | cost of college | | leadership |
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5 ways to avoid student loans

If you want your teenager to go to college without taking student loans, it’s important that you make a plan right now to prepare for that. Rachel Cruze explains a few ideas for how to get started.

| student loans | | cost of college | | paying for college | | guest blog |
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What would you do with free community college?

In case you haven't heard, President Obama recently announced a plan that would allow some students to attend two years of community college for free. Here are five ways families could take advantage of the potential savings of this plan, should it come to fruition.

| paying for college | | cost of college | | community college | | Barack Obama | | free college |
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529 plans and the FAFSA

Before you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it's a good idea to understand how your current savings, including those in 529 plans, are analyzed in calculating your financial aid eligibility.

| 529 plan | | saving for college | | financial aid | | paying for college | | FAFSA | | financial aid eligibility | | cost of college |
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[PODCAST] How to give a gift of college savings

Happy holidays! In this new podcast, Joe Hurley and Kathryn Flynn discuss why a contribution to a 529 plan can be a more meaningful gift for a child than a toy or cash.

| podcast | | college savings | | 529 plan | | holiday | | 529 plan contribution | | paying for college | | saving for college | | grandparents |
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5 ways to get money for college this holiday season

Instead of receiving more trucks or dolls to add to your already overflowing toy chest, why not consider asking your loved ones to contribute to your child's college fund this year? View this slideshow to learn more about some of the creative 529 gifting programs available to help you do just that.

| paying for college | | 529 plan | | gifting | | holidays | | saving for college |
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Despite rising tuition prices, more students are just saying "No" to loans

Last week, the College Board released its annual "Trends in College Pricing" report, which revealed some much needed positive news regarding student borrowing.

| student loans | | cost of college | | paying for college | | 529 plan | | financial aid |
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5 reasons to keep your 529 plan open during college

Even if there's only a small balance left in your 529 plan after paying your tuition bills, it's usually a smart idea to keep the plan up and running. Learn why.

| 529 plan | | paying for college | | 529 plan withdrawals | | qualified expenses | | cost of attendance | | grandparents | | tax benefits |
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[PODCAST] Getting started with a 529 plan - Step 3: Maximizing your savings

In the third and final episode of the "Getting Started with a 529 Plan" series, Kathryn Flynn and Joseph Hurley discuss ways you can maximize the savings in your 529 plan in order to meet your college savings goals.

| saving for college | | 529 plan | | podcast | | savings | | choosing a 529 plan | | paying for college | | 529 rewards programs |
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The 529 plan F-Word

Almost all college savers will agree that the most hated four-letter word associated with 529 plans is F-E-E-S. It's important to compare fees when deciding on a 529 plan. But where do you start?Here’s a quick slideshow to help you understand the different charges:

| 529 plan | | saving for college | | fees and expenses | | paying for college | | choosing a 529 plan |
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8 tips for preparing your child for the financial realities of college

This guest post offers the following strategies to help you ensure your kids are ready to face the expenses of higher education.

| paying for college | | student loans | | saving for college |
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You're saying my financial advisor can help me plan for college?

Most parents and grandparent already know that they can open a 529 plan through an advisor, but what they may not realize is that advisors are also helping to make college attainable in other ways.

| 529 plan | | saving for college | | financial professional | | financial advisor | | cost of college | | paying for college | | |
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Five reasons competency-based education might be for you

Competency-based education is a new trend in online higher education that caters to those who may have financial or time restraints that prevent a traditional college experience. Here are five reasons why this non-traditional type of college program might be for you.

| 529 plan | | paying for college | | eligible institution | | nontraditional learning | | online education | | cost of college |
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[INFOGRAPHIC] College Savings Timeline

Our newest "College Savings Timeline" Infographic focuses on what you can do during various stages of life to ensure an easy transition to college that won’t leave your child or grandchild burdened with excessive debt.

| infographic | | college | | saving for college | | paying for college | | scholarships | | financial aid | | 529 plan | | cost of college |
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For many college hopefuls, grandparents coming to the rescue

Parents strategizing to cover the cost of college may not have to look very far for an additional helping hand. One group of advocates is stepping up to help save for college and providing significant support: grandparents.

| grandparents | | saving for college | | paying for college | | cost of college |
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College Savings Timeline: Time for college

All the hard work you've put into building up your child's college savings account has paid off, and now it's time for them to head off to college. What steps do you need to take to make a 529 plan withdrawal when the first tuition bill arrives?

| saving for college | | paying for college | | qualified expenses | | 529 plan withdrawals | | room and board | | tuition |
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VIDEO - What happens to my 529 plan money if my child gets a scholarship?

Parents are sometimes hesitant to open a 529 account for their child because they are afraid of incurring penalties on any unused funds. However, there are some exceptions to the to the penalty rule:

| 529 plan | | scholarship | | paying for college | | qualified expenses | | Joe Hurley |
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5 reasons recent college graduates are becoming the boomerang generation

As we celebrate our country’s independence this week, many parents of Class of 2014 college graduates are hoping for another sense of freedom.

| paying for college | | student loans | | college graduate |
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When your child wants to attend a U.S. Military Academy

What happens if families who have been diligently saving for college with a 529 plan have a child who plans to attend a military academy?

| college savings | | military | | paying for college | | scholarship | | 529 plan | | 529 plan withdrawal | | tuition |
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Scoring an athletic scholarship

This year's World Cup has given us sports fever! In today's blog post, we discuss the realistic probability of achieving a sports scholarship, and why opening a 529 college savings account is an excellent back-up plan.

| paying for college | | saving for college | | scholarships | | sports | | world cup | | cost of college |
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Top five ways to spend 529 savings

Withdrawals from a 529 plan must be spent on qualified higher education expenses to avoid tax and penalty. Just what types of college expenses are qualified?

| college savings | | 529 plan | | qualified expenses | | 529 plan withdrawals | | paying for college | | tuition | | room and board | | equipment | | special needs equipment |
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College savings success stories: Anonymous tips

Last week we received some great advice on our message board explaining how to get the best education "bang for your buck". Consider these tips to create a well-rounded college funding strategy.

| college savings | | 529 plans | | community college | | cutting college costs | | paying for college | | saving for college | | ROI |
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Student loan rate hikes give more reason to save

Beginning July 1, we will see a 0.8% increase in interest rates on all federal student loans. If you were planning on taking out loans to pay for college, you may want to rethink your strategy.

| college | | paying for college | | saving for college | | student loans | | interest rates | | interest rate increase | | 529 plan | | 529 plans | | college savings day | | 529 day | | cost of college |
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Five of the best college savings apps

In addition to allowing you to track funds in a bank or investment account, there are also mobile apps available that offer some fantastic planning tools. This slide show highlights five apps that help parents, students and grandparents plan for the future costs of college.

| 529 plan | | college savings | | smart phone | | smart phone app | | college savings app | | paying for college | | financial planning | | technology |
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College Savings Timeline: Now entering the world of high school

Here are some things you can do in the next four years of high school to ensure an easy transition that won't leave your child burdened with excessive debt.

| savings | | college savings | | 529 plan | | 529 plans | | high school | | teenager | | scholarships | | AP | | planning for college | | saving for college | | paying for college |
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5 ways to cut college costs

The last thing you want is to have your child graduate college burdened with student loans. Here are five ways anyone can put away extra money for college, regardless of income.

| saving for college | | paying for college | | student loans | | higher education | | scholarships | | room and board | | cost of tuition | | 529 plan | | 529 college savings plan |
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College savings success stories: Our own success

We thought you might be interested in how saving for college worked for our own families. This week’s success story comes from our very own Chief Operating Officer, Marie Osypian.

| scholarships | | work study | | loans | | paying for college | | saving for college | | college savings | | success stories |
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Annual College Savings Survey results: An opportunity to educate

Experts agree that there is a strong need for education on financial products and services, and that the younger these topics are introduced, the better. This includes the area of 529 plans, where confusion is still common.

| 529 plan | | misconceptions | | financial literacy | | college savings | | college savings survey | | saving for college | | paying for college |
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[INFOGRAPHIC] How much do you need to save for college?

Our latest infographic looks at the actual expenses related to higher education and how American families are footing the bill to pay for college.

| infographic | | college | | college costs | | 529 | | 529 plan | | college savings | | college cost calculator | | paying for college | | saving for college |
 

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