Clark Howard on cutting cost of college in half

As college students head back to class, fewer than four in ten families have a plan on how to pay for college.

According to research by Goldman Sachs, the average price of college rose just 1.9% between June 2016 and June 2017 -- the slowest rate since 1973. However, there are indications that the cost is rising.

Last year, the national average for the amount of debt students graduated with was $37,000.

WSB consumer expert Clark Howard says a 529 plan is the best way to save for your kid’s college.

The college-savings plans allow you, a relative or a friend to put money aside as an investment for a child’s college education.

"The money grows tax-free and is spent tax-free for eligible college expenses such as tuition, books and fees," says Howard.

He also recommends spending the first two years at a community college and then transferring to a traditional four-year college for junior and senior years. Howard says, "By doing this you basically cut the cost of college in half."

According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2016–2017 school year was $33,480 at private colleges, $9,650 for state residents at public colleges, and $24,930 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.

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