(Part 1 in a Series on the College Board’s 2012)
By Mary Anne Busse
Managing Director, Great Disclosure LLC
November 2, 2012

The College Board recently came out with its 2012 Trends in College Pricing and it’s chock full of great information – some good news and some not so good news. According to the report, published prices for tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities increased 4.8%, the smallest since 2000‑01. For prospective college students, that’s great news! Unfortunately, the report also found that “the growth in published prices at public four-year institutions has been higher over the past decade (averaging 5.2% per year beyond inflation) than over either of the two preceding decades.”1

There’s more good news though. According to Trends in College Pricing, in 2012‑13, “full-time undergraduates at public four‑year institutions receive an estimated average of $5,750 in grant aid from all sources and federal tax benefits to help them pay the average $8,665 published tuition and fees. The students pay an average net price of just over $2,900.”1 Of course, these numbers don’t include books, room and board, and course specific fees and the availability of grants will depend on your particular situation. It’s good to know, however, that you may not have to foot the entire bill yourself.

So what does all this mean for the parent of a two, five or fifteen year old? It means it’s time to seriously think about your plan to pay for higher education for your children. Are you saving for a two-year degree, a four-year degree, graduate school? Are you hoping to send your child to a public university or a private college? Is your plan to contribute to a 529 Plan account monthly, quarterly, annually? How many kids are you saving for – one, two, seven? What are your child’s chances of receiving grants or scholarships? The answers to these questions are important to help you shape the way to save for your loved one’s future.

At a time when there has been so much devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, I’m reminded of how my mother used to always say that “family comes first.” Now is the time to focus on your children and their future. Don’t let statistics frighten you into complacency. There are many ways to easily start you on your way to college savings. You can check out lots of information about 529 Plans here.

1 Trends in College Pricing 2012, The College Board.

About the Author:

Mary Anne Busse is the Managing Director of Great Disclosure LLC, a full service consulting firm dedicated to the 529 Plan marketplace.  Great Disclosure represents 529 Plan administrators on all aspects of 529 Plan administration, marketing, and operations.