In what feels like the blink of an eye, we have a second grader on our hands. This school year flew by at warp speed so I can imagine the next 11 years before she goes to college will, too. Eleven years is shorter than the length of time I’ve been married and it isn’t that far away.
In preparation for this post sponsored by our own 529 college savings plan, ScholarShare, I started fiddling with their online calculator. I notified my husband that based on its predictions, we need to deposit more money. I’ll show you how I figured out the amount we need to save for college.
Save Now: Kids Grow Quickly
In the last 9 months alone, we’ve noticed major changes in everything from handwriting to how well she travels. She walks longer distances, enabling more sightseeing and less complaining while at attractions. She reads her own menus, which ironically means that children’s menus are totally out the window because she’s more interested in Cantonese lamp chops than chicken fingers.
We’ve learned how to deal with her motion sickness, which appeared at age 4. She’s finally confident that the remedies work and is more relaxed during the journey to wherever we’re going.
In the next eleven years, I hope to take her to fill her passport(s). I know there may come a time where she’ll choose her friends over travel with us, but until then, we’ll continue to explore faraway places while making sure she can attend the college of her choosing.
That being said, my husband is sure to lay down some perimeters of schools he’s willing to pay for. So far, they run the gamut in regard to cost.
Cost of College for Today’s 7-Year-Old
I graduated from University of California at San Diego and my husband graduated from Harvard University. Both are on the OK list. Here’s what we’re looking at if our 7-year-old daughter chooses either of these schools in eleven years from now.
University of California at San Diego current costs with in-state tuition:
- $25,280 per year, including room and board
- $13,302 per year, without room and board but with tuition and textbooks included
Estimated cost of UCSD in 11 years with in-state tuition:
- $209,983 total for four years ($47,989 – $57,156 each year), including room and board
- $110,464 total for four years ($25,251 – $30,075 each year), without room and board but with tuition and textbooks
Harvard University current costs:
- $53,006 per year, including room and board
- $38,891 per year, without room and board but with tuition and textbooks included
Estimated cost of Harvard University in 11 years:
- $440,178 total for four years ($100,621 – $119,841), including room and board
- $322,964 total for four years ($73,827 – $87,929), without room and board but with tuition and textbooks
My husband also rightly points out that these costs don’t include flights back and forth to home (if applicable), pocket money, cell phones and other incidentals. Either option equals a huge investment on our part.
How to Estimate the Cost of College
ScholarShare, California’s 529 college savings plan, has a college savings calculator online that allows parents to plug in their child’s current age, desired college (exact colleges are listed), tax rate, rate of expected return on investment and amount of planned savings. The calculator will generate a shortfall and tell you what you need to invest to meet the need or (hopefully) reveal that a surplus is in your future. Then, learn how the account impacts financial aid, what happens if your child receives a scholarship and thensome.
It’s very easy to play around with. Check it out.
Knowledge is power… that’s why we’re saving all of this money for college, right?
(If you are thinking about taking the family to a Padres game this summer, check out the discounted ScholarShare ticket packs.)