A priceless gift for your child? Getting a head start on college costs. 

How to save more for your child’s education

Time is of the essence

When it comes to saving for a future expense, time is your best friend. You’ve got about 18 years from the day your child is born to save for one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make together. We all know the benefits of a college degree—and being able to help your child graduate with less or possibly no debt will take a weight off their shoulders so they can focus on school itself (and not worry about what happens after).

How much you should save

The average cost of tuition has been climbing steadily,1 so keep an eye on the numbers and adjust your savings plan as needed.

2010 – 11: $7,927 for public, in-state school; $29,514 for private

2015 – 16: $9,809 for public, in-state school; $35,561 for private

2020 – 21: $11,171 for public, in-state school; $41,411 for private

Save more: Set a goal and your intentions

Picking a realistic savings goal can help you save more consistently. Make sure your family knows what your goal is and include college savings in your budget so you and your partner or co-parent are on the same page. Setting up monthly automatic transfers is a good way to ensure you’re putting a little away each month without thinking about it.

A 529 College Savings Plan could help your savings grow

529 College Savings Plans are state-sponsored, tax-deferred investment accounts that allow investors to invest toward the costs of higher education. You can open one as soon as your child’s born, invest in diversified funds, and then withdraw the money for certain education expenses without having to pay taxes on your earnings. (But—similar a retirement account—you cannot withdraw the funds before a certain time without paying a penalty.) While you can open a 529 in any state, since they’re state-sponsored, you may not receive all the benefits if you’re not a resident of the state. The details can vary by location—so look into 529 details in your region to see if it makes sense for you.

Get your kid involved

At the end of the day, college is just as much your kid’s choice as it is your choice for them. As they get older, make sure they know you’re saving for this. Explain the differences between public and private universities and federal and private student loans. Get them thinking about where they want to go and what they want to do—and as they get older, have them help save, too. By contributing part of their allowance or part-time paycheck, they can learn the value of saving and build healthy money habits. 

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial, or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial, or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

College savings calculator

This calculator is made available by one or more third party service providers. It is not intended to be an advertisement for a product or service at any of the terms used herein. It is not intended to offer any tax, legal, financial or investment advice. All examples are hypothetical and are for illustrative purposes. Truist Financial Corporation ("Truist") and its affiliates do not provide legal or tax advice. Truist cannot guarantee that the information provided is accurate, complete, or timely. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. Changes in such laws and regulations may have a material impact on pre- and/or after-tax investment results. Truist makes no warranties with regard to this calculator or the results obtained by its use. Truist disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or any tax position taken in reliance on, this calculator. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

Save more for your family’s future.

With the Truist Online Savings Account, you can save efficiently for your child’s education as well as other goals—like an epic family vacation. 

No minimums to open

Start with $50. Or $10. Or even just $5. There’s no minimum deposit required to start your account.2

Convenient access

Wherever your family goes on life’s journey, you can easily access your savings online or through the app. 

Low fees

Because it shouldn’t cost a lot when you’re trying to save money.