Smart money practices to save for college

Hamilton College graduation
Graduates at Hamilton College in New York present the college president with a green apple.
Courtesy of Vickers & Beechler

Students and their families face a one-two punch of rising college costs and student debt. Experts say the earlier you start planning, saving and applying for aid, the better.

One possible solution: 529 plans are an education savings plan that offer tax benefits to help you save more money over time. While the plans are an efficient way to save up for college, less than a third of Americans know they exist. If you're the parent of a young child, open an account as soon as you can.

The funds you save with the 529 plan can be used toward tuition, room and board, books, supplies and other miscellaneous costs.

Even if your child heads to college soon and you don't have an account, it's not too late to open one. Also, look for scholarships and grants for which your student may be eligible and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form before the deadline: June 30, 2019.

Recommended reading: Minnesota College Savings Plan

Guests:

John Wasik is a journalist and author of "The Debt-Free Degree: How to Eliminate College Debt at Every Step"

Darla Kashian is the senior vice president and financial advisor at RBC Wealth Management

Use the audio player above to hear the full segment.

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