Plan for the rising cost of college.

The cost of college is rising.

The cost of college tuition and fees – for four-year public and private college, and two-year colleges – has outpaced tuition for the past several decades. While no one can predict future costs, it’s reasonable to expect that costs will continue to increase – making the need for a Bright Start account all the more important.

Cost of College

Source: The College Board “Trends in College Pricing” (November 2023). Average Published Tuition and Fees in 2023 Dollars by Sector (1993-94 to 2023-24)

How much do you need to save?

Estimating what you’ll need to send a child or loved one to college years from now is challenging, particularly when costs keep increasing. What you’ll need depends on when you start, how much you put away, what type of college you’ll be paying for, and how much of it you plan to finance.

The important thing is to start as soon as you can. Save what you can, when you can. Every contribution you make , no matter what the size helps reduce what you need to come up with or borrow in the future.

How much will you save if you start now?

With our college savings calculator, use the amount you can afford to contribute each month and the child’s current age to estimate how much you’ll save by the time they’re ready for college.

How much can you afford to save? Slide the bar to the amount you can afford to save each month .
You could save: $19,474.75

* Amount assumes an actual investment return of 6% with monthly contribution on the first day of each month. This hypothetical is for illustrative purposes only. It does not reflect an actual investment in any particular college savings plan or in a Bright Start account or any taxes payable upon withdrawal.

Now, estimate the impact of your 529 savings in the future.

With our calculator, create various savings scenarios using a child’s age, current college costs, hypothetical annual rate of return, and different planned contributions to a 529 savings plan.

College Savings Calculator

Despite the cost, education pays off for graduates.

Pursuing higher education helps people discover their interests and develop critical thinking skills that are valuable in their careers and in life. Beyond that, the investment in higher education can also be measured in higher potential earnings, lower unemployment rate, and increased job satisfaction and security. Having a college degree or trade school certification also makes a person more likely than a person with a high school diploma to be promoted for other opportunities.

Median Weekly Earnings (of full-time workers)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, News Release (3rd Quarter 2023 Averages – October 18, 2023)

See the impact of starting early with Bright Start.

Our College Savings Calculator makes it easy to see the positive impact you can have when you start saving for college early. If you didn’t look at different scenarios, here’s an example of how much you can potentially accumulate with Bright Start, based on an initial $2,500 investment and different monthly contribution amounts.

Assumed annual return at 6%.

Monthly Contributions

This hypothetical example illustrates the accumulation potential with a $2,500 initial investment and a monthly contribution plan at a 6% projected average annual return. The above example is based on projections and does not reflect your actual investment in the Bright Start College Savings Program. If fees were included, the returns would be lower. Your actual results may be more or less.

Learn more about 529 plans.

529 Basics