Is a college or university education in your future? Best to start thinking about the financial implications now, and plan appropriately. A little money can go a long way when you start saving for your child's college fund early and contribute regularly. On this page, we provide you with a variety of calculators and other resources to do just that.
If you are just entering college, and perhaps moving out to live on your own, you should also check out our other resources too for articles and tools related to opening and using checking accounts, buying a car, establishing credit, and more.
- Calculator: What Will it Take to Save for a College Education? Determine how much you will be able to save in order to end up with a lump-sum amount to pay the college tuition bill for a child or someone else. The calculator estimates the future cost of tuition based on what you enter for current tuition, expenses, and inflation rate. You can then see how far your current saving strategy will take you towards being able to pay those expenses. Takes into account your expected savings rates and taxes.
- Calculator: What Is the Value of Higher Education? See how pursuing in higher education may pay off financially during your earning lifetime. Or, if you already have a college degree, see how much furthering your education with an advanced degree may also pay off financially.
- Calculator: What Investments Can I Use to Save for College? See what your best options are for choosing an investment account to use for college savings. These accounts include tax-advantaged accounts like the Coverdell ESAs (formerly called education IRAs), qualified tuition plans (also known as as Section 529 plans), and custodial accounts.
- Calculator: What Expenses Do I Face Prior to Attending College? This calculator helps you budget for expenses that are directly related to the cost of getting ready to attend college. Many of these expenses are incurred in the 18 months or so prior to beginning college.
- Calculator: Should I Live on Campus, Off-Campus, or at Home? Budget and compare costs of different living arrangements for you or a child attending college. Compare the costs of living on campus in a dormitory or other housing, living off-campus, or living at home. Includes considerations of sharing costs with roommates, and cost of commuting from home.
- Calculator: How Much Should I Budget for College Living Expenses? Determine if a debt consolidation loan is right for you, by seeing how much it will save you in total, while potentially lowering your monthly payments. Includes total interest paid, and the tax savings from possible deductions resulting from a home equity being used for the consolidation loan.
- Calculator: Is a Meal Plan a Good Deal? Determine the average cost per meal for a meal plan. Many colleges and universities require students that reside on campus to register for a meal plan. Even if you are not required, it may be cheaper to buy a meal plan than to pay cash for your meals. Most sources of financial aid and tax-advantaged college savings plans consider meals a legitimate education-related expense.
- College Checklist for Students Currently in Middle School or Junior High This comprehensive checklist is important things to keep in mind when you're in middle school or junior high school and starting to prepare for a postsecondary education.
- College Checklist for Students Currently in High School This comprehensive checklist is applicable to all high school students preparing for a postsecondary education, with additional tips for those in 9th and 10th grades. Please also see our checklists for juniors and seniors specifically.
- College Checklist for Junior and Senior Students in High School If your or your child is a Junior or Senior in high school, consult this comprehensive checklist of important things to keep in mind in order to prepare for a post-secondary education.
- College Checklist for Parents If your or your child is preparing for a post-secondary education, consult this comprehensive checklist of important things to keep in mind as a parent
- Why Should a Student Care about Auto Insurance? If you're reading this you're probably new to auto insurance, or know someone who is. Learn some important considerations for anyone planning on driving a car and being on their own.
- What Every Student Should Know about Driving The statistics for teen age drivers can be sobering. Here's how to avoid becoming one of them.
- Grant-Based Financial Aid A grant is a gift. It does not require repayment. Learn about the two main types of federally funded grants, Pell grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), plus state grants.
- Scholarships A scholarship is an academic award to a student for outstanding academic, athletic or artistic talent. Like a grant, a scholarship does not have to be repaid. Learn how to find these valuable sources of college funding.
- Stafford Loans Stafford student loans are guaranteed by the federal government and disbursed by a bank or other private lender that participates in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), or disbursed directly through the Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDSLP). They have favorable rates, no credit score requirements, and favorable tax advantages.
- Perkins Loans Perkins loans are disbursed directly to the student by the college or university where the student is attending. Learn why Perkins loans are more competitive than Stafford loans, while still offering all the advantages.
- PLUS Loans The Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is made to the parents of the college student. Learn how else this loan differs from the Stafford and Perkins student loans.
- Work-Study Programs Work-Study programs are another source of federal financial aid for college students. Work-Study awards a part-time job to eligible students to work on- or off-campus in exchange for an hourly wage. Learn more here.
- Determining Eligibility Learn how to determine your eligibility, via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is used for determining your need and if you meet other requirements when applying for federal financial aid to pay for college, and is also used with some non-federal sources of financial aid.
- Aid Application Process Learn more about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), when you need to submit it, and what to expect when doing so.
- Military Service If you are ineligible for a grant and don't want to borrow to pay for college, you may be able to attend and pay for college by way of military service. Learn about the four major types of military-service options to pay for college.
- Part-Time Work You may decide to pay for some of your college expenses by taking a part-time job. For students who rely on student loans to help pay for college, the extra income means having to borrow less. Be sure to read our tips about this important topic.
- Student Loan Repayment Learn about grace periods, loan repayment plans, the normal repayment period, consolidation loans, and more. Loans must be repaid, but you do have some options if you face a financial hardship, and we'll tell you about them.
- Financial Aid Web Sites Additional resources for those seeking financial aid for their college expenses can be found at these other Web sites.
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- Federal Student Aid Site Information about preparing for college, types of aid available, who can get aid, repaying your loans, and more.
- University of California, Admissions Find information about UC admissions policy and financial aid. Determine your eligibility for admission. Apply for admission online.
- California State University, Admissions Find your future at the California State University. With 23 campuses and thousands of degree choices, the CSU is a great place to start your journey. Explore your options below, and start your application today.
- CollegeNet Includes a college search tool to find schools that are best suited to your interests and personality. Includes application information. Also, search for scholarships or participate in the forums.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook Current information from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Gives detailed information on hundreds of different types of jobs, such as training and education needed, earnings, expected job prospects, and more. Includes job search tips and links to information about the job market in each state.
- DMV Sample Written Driver Tests Before you come into DMV to take your written test to get (or renew) your license, practice answering some example questions.