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College Planning


Are you ready to meet rising college costs? Starting early and investing often can help. Get a firm grip on how much you'll need to save for college.

Take the first step
  • 1.
    Understand college costs
  • 2.
    Start saving now
  • 3.
    Explore 529 plans and custodial accounts
  • 4.
    Balance college savings with other life priorities

What's the best way to prepare for college? Start with a few tips to get the ball rolling—and put an action plan in motion.

Create an action plan
  • 1.
    Become college-ready
  • 2.
    Sharpen your college planning goals
  • 3.
    Consider financial aid, grants & scholarships
  • 4.
    Borrow with care
  • 5.
    Manage college finances with your child

Still in school or newly employed? Either way, we can help you make the most of your money and lay the groundwork for a successful future.

Move toward your goal
  • 1.
    Stick to a budget
  • 2.
    Explore student banking
  • 3.
    Work during college
  • 4.
    Plan for career success
  • 5.
    Tackle debt and pay off student loans
  • 6.
    Fund a return to school
Try our College Planning Calculator

How much should you
be saving for college?

Compare college savings plans

Not sure which account
is right for you?

529 State Tax Calculator

Does your state 529
plan offer tax benefits?

Use our 529 State Tax Calculator to see if
your home state 529 plan offers state tax deductions.
Ready to get started?
Please remember there's always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities. Before you invest in a Section 529 plan, request the plan's official statement from your Financial Solutions Advisor and read it carefully. The official statement contains more complete information, including investment objectives, charges, expenses and risks of investing in the 529 plan, which you should consider carefully before investing. You should also consider whether your home state or your beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds and protection against creditors that are only available for investments in such state's 529 plan. Section 529 plans are not guaranteed by any state or federal agency.

Merrill, its affiliates, and financial advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.