College Savings Calculator

This college cost and savings calculator is the ideal tool for your college planning needs. It combines a college cost calculator with a 529 college savings calculator. Obtain a personalized projection of your future college costs by entering your child's age, the type of college you're saving for, and your household income. The calculator estimates the total scholarships and grants you may receive based on your income level. This calculator shows you how much to save for college in a 529 college savings plan. You can adjust the monthly contribution to see how much monthly contributions can compound over time and the percentage of total college costs your savings will cover.

College Cost

Child's age
Household Income
Current college savings
Type of College
Edit assumptions

College Savings

Monthly Contribution
Rate of Return
Percent of cost covered 32 %

Cost of a 4-year college in 2035

Total cost of college
in 2035
Total cost of college
Scholarships & grants-
Adjusted cost of college
Projected college savings-
College savings gap

Projected college savings comparison

Avg 529 Plan
Avg Savings Account

Additional savings with a 529 plan =

Our Rating
Fee Scorex

In plain english

If you make monthly contributions of $250 into a 529 plan you are projected to cover 32% of the  cost of college. Download your results for more details.

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How we got here

This calculator is designed to help families create an effective funding strategy to cover their expected college tuition costs using a 529 college savings plan. Some families will want to save for 4 years in college, while others aim to cover a portion of the total cost. The total cost of college is the 4-year cost of attendance from the year the child turns 18, factoring in tuition inflation. The adjusted cost of college is calculated by taking the total cost of college and subtracting the expected scholarships and grants, depending on household income. Assumptions (cost, inflation rate, and current savings) can be modified by clicking the ‘Assumptions' link above.

Summary of using 529 plans for college expenses

  • Federal tax-free treatment of 529 plans apply to any funds withdrawn to cover qualified higher education expenses (QHEE) or K-12 tuition.

  • The earnings portion of non-qualified withdrawals are subject to federal income tax, as well as an additional 10% penalty.

How much do you need to save for college expenses?

This calculator is designed to help you create the most effective funding strategy to cover your expected college costs using a 529 plan. Note that attendance costs and scholarship availability can vary considerably from school to school. The World’s Simplest College Cost Calculator allows you to estimate costs based on school types (ie. In-state public university).

Using this calculator

  • Adjust your child's age, your household income, type of school you are saving for, and either monthly contribution or the percent of cost covered slider. For example, if you would like to cover half of your child’s expected cost of attendance, set the slider to 50%.

  • If you want to change the yearly school cost, expected scholarships and grants, inflation rate, expected rate of return, or current college savings balance click on the 'Edit assumptions' button.

  • If the total cost of college is greater than your expected 529 plan balance, you will see a figure labeled 'College savings gap' which will have to be paid using loans or other funding sources.

Potential 529 state tax benefits

Some states offer a tax deduction for contributions to a 529 plan, which could further increase projected college savings if tax benefits are invested. Read more about state tax benefits for 529 plans, and estimate your state tax savings with our Tax 529 Calculator.

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in each 529 plan’s fund prospectus, summary prospectus and Program Description, which can be obtained on the plan’s web site. Depending on your state of residence, there may be an in-state plan that offers tax and other benefits. Before investing in any state’s 529 plan, investors should consult a tax advisor.