(WFSB) - It’s no secret that college costs a lot of money.

Those costs were already scrutinized, but the pandemic has forced many families to take an even deeper look into their child’s future education.

“The cost of going to college has skyrocketed. The University of Pennsylvania alone in 1950 was $600 a year for tuition. Now, it’s close to $55,000 a year. Of course, how much you pay will depend on which college you choose, but in general, most people will pay tens of thousands of dollars for a college education," Laura Petrecca, the deputy editor of Millie Magazine, says.

Laura recommends parents use a college calculator to try to plan out the cost.

“'Oh no, that’s years out'. It could be seventeen years out. It could be ten years out, but it’s still really important to get a ballpark figure of what college may cost you. Many colleges have prices out there that will make your eyes pop,“ explained Petrecca.

And then start saving early.

“One of the best things parents can do as early as possible is to open a 529 savings plan. This is an amazing, tax-advantaged account that you can use to save for college. These 529 plans are very similar to a work 401k, in that they’re paid for qualified educational costs, while your 401k pays for your retirement,“ continued Petrecca.

And others, like family members, can contribute to it.

When it comes time to send them off to campus, that can be one part of how you’ll pay. Many money experts talk about tackling tuition with the rule of thirds.

“The second third is covered by parental income and the third part of it is covered by student loans. Do not put your child’s college education costs above your retirement funding, so your child can always get student loans to go to college. You can’t get a loan for retirement,“ added Petrecca.

Millie Magazine is a financial tips and advice magazine that targets millennials. It is published by the parent company of this television station, the Meredith Corporation.

Copyright 2021 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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