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Over the next few weeks we will be walking through the process of planning for college, paying for college, and then paying off college. A college degree is a huge investment decision, so it is important to put in time and research before starting the process. We will cover general tips and guidelines to be aware of, but keep in mind that planning for college will be unique to each family and each student.

Topics covered will include strategies on saving for college, evaluating colleges, understanding the financial aid process, and paying back student loans.

The primary concern surrounding college boils down to the cost. It’s expensive. Where you decide to go, what you decide to be, and how long it takes to accomplish that can have a big impact on the total cost. Therefore, understanding the costs involved will serve as our starting point.

For the 2015-16 school year, the average cost of tuition and fees was $9,410 for in-state students attending public college. The average cost of private college was up around $32,405 for the school year. (Source: http://www.collegedata.com/cs/content/content_payarticle_tmpl.jhtml?articleId=10064)

On top of the cost of tuition and fees, room and board, books, travel expenses, etc. also need to be factored in to the total cost of attendance.