Decades ago, high school students could save up for their tuition with their earnings from their summer jobs and still have some spending money leftover. This isn’t possible anymore. High school students need help from financial aid, student loans and their parents to access the college sphere.

As a parent, you may be wondering, how much do you have to save for your kids’ college years?

How Much Do You Have to Save?

High Tuition Costs

The non-profit organization College Board stated the average tuition and fees for public in-state schools was $10,740 in 2021-2022 in their study Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid. For out-of-state students, it was $27,560. Students who attended private institutions paid an average of $38,070 for tuition and fees. 

Room and Board 

Students currently pay an average of $11,950 annually on room and board costs for public college. For a private college, it’s an average of $13,620 per year. 


College textbooks are very expensive, and oftentimes students can’t access cheaper options through their library or used bookstores. Your kid might need $1000 per year to get all the necessary books on their syllabus.

The Final Estimate 

Most schools expect students to graduate after attending for four years. So, if your kid needs four years’ worth of tuition, room, board and supply costs for a public in-state school, you should expect to pay $93,000 in total. If they need four years’ worth of these expenses at a private institution, you should expect to pay over $210,000. 

This estimate doesn’t account for the fact that many students take longer than four years to get their diplomas.It also can’t account for the rising costs of post-secondary education in the future.  Types of savings accounts can help you prepare for the rising costs of post-secondary education. Consider options like high-yield savings accounts, 529 plans, or specialized education savings accounts for a brighter financial future.

You may not be able to save up for everything, but you should try your best to save for a fraction of these total expenses. 

How Can You Save for These Expenses?

Start Now

It doesn’t matter if your kid is still in daycare—you should start putting away savings as soon as possible. The earlier you start this process, the more savings you can rely on when the time finally comes. 

Leave the Savings

Whatever you do, don’t undermine your savings goals by withdrawing from the college fund before your kid needs it—even for emergencies. If you don’t have the funds to cover an emergency expense right away, you can look to alternatives like loans by phone to help you manage it. If you’re approved for the loan, you can use the borrowed funds to resolve the problem in a short amount of time. Then, you can focus on a repayment plan.

Pulling savings from the college fund is never a good idea. It will only punish your kid in the future, giving them less support when they really need it. Plus, if you’re using a 529 Plan to store the savings, you’ll incur taxes and penalties for making an early withdrawal for a non-educational purpose.

Add Windfalls

Whenever you get a windfall, whether it’s an inheritance or a hefty tax return, put a portion into your college savings fund. This will give the savings a quick boost without too much effort.

Encourage Cash Gifts

Whenever someone wants to give your child a gift, and they’re not sure what to buy, request money that they can put towards their college fund. It’s a thoughtful, practical gift that your kid will appreciate in the future.

The more you save, the easier college payments will be! It’s time for you to start that college fund.