Tutorial - The real cost of higher education

College Savings Tutorial

Just how much does college cost?

Well, that depends on what type of school you want to attend. An Ivy League school will likely be your most expensive option, but that doesn't mean you can't get an excellent education at a more affordable college.

RELATED: 9 tips on getting into an Ivy League School

Let's take a look at the differences between costs of public and private colleges today and 18 years from now:

Projected 4-year average tuition and fees: 2015 and 2033

Projected Tuition Chart

Based on average tuition and fees for 2014-2015 as reported by The College Board® and assumed to increase 5% annually. The figures above do not include other costs your child will incur as a college student, such as room and board, books, supplies, equipment, and transportation. These additional expenses can increase your child's cost of attending college by a substantial amount.

What is the college inflation rate?

Public and private schools each typically have their own college inflation rate, which measures the annual increase in tuition and fees.

According to The College Board®, the average 2014-2015 tuition increase was 3.7 percent at private colleges, and 2.9 percent at public universities. However, looking back at the last decade, the 10-year historical rate of increase is approximately 5 percent.

These figures are substantially higher than the general inflation rate, and also higher than the average increase in personal incomes.

RELATED: 4 ways families are tackling high college costs

How much will college cost my family?

To estimate what your future tuition might be, try the World's Simplest College Cost Calculator. You'll be able to input the actual school (or type of school) you're saving for and the age of your child. From there, the World's Simplest College Cost Calculator calculates the prospective costs of college, including room and board, books supplies and other expenses. It also estimates how much you'll actually have to pay out of pocket after taking grants and scholarships into consideration. Once you calculate your savings need, the Planner will help you find a 529 plan to meet your goal.