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Why Save for College

A college degree is a valuable investment in a student’s future.

Before you even begin saving for college, it’s important to understand just how valuable a college degree can be. According to the College Board1, a college graduate is more likely to:

  • Be employed. Graduates (including those with associate degrees) have lower rates of unemployment than those with no degree.
  • Earn more money. Over a 40-year full-time career, the median earnings of bachelor’s degree recipients are 65% higher than those of high school graduates.
  • Have a better quality of life. College graduates have healthier lifestyles, are more politically active, interact more with their children, and are more likely to move up the socio-economic ladder.

Determine the future costs of college with the College Planning CalculatorSM. It’s a free tool that guides you through creating a college savings plan, as well as evaluating other ways to pay with those future college costs in mind.

Start Your Plan

The value of saving

The sooner you start saving for college, the more time you’ll have on your side. Wondering how to start? Follow our 1-2-3 approach to saving for college:

  • Step 1: Open a savings account
  • Step 2: Set a goal and regularly contribute money
  • Step 3: Explore tax-advantaged options, such as 529 college savings plans

First, open an account that’s earmarked for your child’s college savings fund. One of the easiest ways is online at Upromise GoalSaver2. You can open an account that helps you set and track your progress toward a goal, like college.

When it comes to Step 2, regular contributions may feel overwhelming when you have family expenses. But even if you don’t have lots of money to save, there are ways to find some extra dollars:

  • When your child stops wearing diapers, declare “diaper freedom day” and put the money those diapers cost into their college account.
  • As your children begin school, take the money you were spending on daycare and turn it into your college savings.
  • As you pay off any debt you may have (i.e., car payments), turn that monthly cash into college savings.
  • Earn cash back for college by doing your everyday online shopping through a service like Upromise3. It’s free to join and the cash back you earn can be used to pay for college.

Once you’ve found a comfortable savings rhythm, think about setting up recurring payments to help the college account grow. You can also consider opening a savings account, like Upromise GoalSaver2, that helps you set and track your progress toward a goal, like college.

Step 3: Explore tax-advantaged options, such as 529 college savings plans

What’s next?

Find savings calculators to help you start a plan to save

Get tips on money management and learn how to set a savings goal

Learn how college savings plans can help you put a tax-advantaged savings plan in place

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College Ahead Plan for College

1 This information was gathered on September 29, 2015 from

2 Upromise GoalSaver Accounts are offered through Sallie Mae Bank, Member FDIC. Please note: cash back savings held in your Upromise Rewards Account are not FDIC insured, carry no bank guarantee and may lose value. Once rewards are swept into your Upromise GoalSaver Account, FDIC insurance is covered through Sallie Mae Bank up to the applicable limits. See FDIC website for insurance limits.

3 Terms and conditions apply to the Upromise service. Participating companies, contributions levels and terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without notice. Go to to learn more.