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College Bound

Meeting—and Prepping for—the Rising Costs of Higher Education

Article by Chuck Gibson

Photography by Alicia + Will Photography

Originally published in Loveland Lifestyle

Paying for college can be a bumpy road—a route often rife with unexpected turns, dead ends and no markers to guide you. Where to turn for advice? The team at Family Wealth Advisory Group offers tips to help you and your children navigate the ins and outs of college tuition.

Planning to pay for college … what comes first?

Start as soon as possible. Analyze and know your personal circumstances. Everyone is different, but understanding current income, future growth and financial options is important. As the parent, you must foresee what will happen and when money is available … from where you are to where your career trajectory is headed.

Where do I begin?

Save! Save! Save! Communication is an important part of this piece. Communicate the goal: realistically paying for college. What will it take to get there? Will grandparents from both sides contribute? Get everyone talking and on the same page. And start honing your skills for saving.

Do I have a good plan?  

Everyone must do a thorough analysis from what college to attend to exactly how much that institution costs, accounting for inflation and expenses as well as expectations for return on that investment.

Which college tuition plan is best?

The one that fits your unique circumstances. This is a must. Options include CollegeAdvantage (Ohio’s 529 Plan), personal savings, stock options and more. Choosing comes down to knowing which plans have strings (like limitations and tax requirements) and no strings (such as liquid money with no tax burden).  

How do I best stay the course for funding college?

Revisit your plan regularly. The road to college is full of twists, turns and bumps along the way. The best plan? Count on trusted professionals to help map a clear road to success. 

So what about current and estimated college costs? Here’s a real breakdown.

FWAG also offered us the following figures—numbers that came from sources with different opinions about inflation, but still based on 18 years until college if planning starts at a child’s birth. Nearly all sources expect the cost of college to double at least once—and maybe twice—over that 18-year period.

University of Cincinnati current cost: in-state $28,156 | out-of-state $44,490

Cost in 18 years: lower estimate $56,312 | upper estimate $112,624

Xavier University current cost: $52,380

Cost in 18 years: lower estimate $104,760 | upper estimate $209,520

Vanderbilt University current cost: $67,392

Cost in 18 years: lower estimate $134,784 | upper estimate $269,568

Current school costs came from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and contain data through spring 2018. Sources for estimated inflation rates were and

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