College Savings: Which Plan is Best for Your Family?

Two words: College Savings.

College can seem like a lifetime away, but it will be here before we know it. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that tuition in 2030 is going to cost approximately $205,000 for a four-year degree. You can also estimate the cost of college for another future date here. That number can easily make anyone cringe.

As a parent you want to encourage your child to go to college and get a good education. When it comes with a hefty price tag, it’s an expensive goal to meet. It can be daunting, especially if you still have student loan debt yourself. Here are a few ways to start saving for your child’s education and tips:

College Savings Plans

Iowa 529 Plan

This is a tax-advantaged college savings plan that allows you to put money away in a savings plan, and any earnings can’t be taxed as long as it’s used for eligible college expenses. There is an incentive of a tax benefit if the investor is a resident of Iowa.

Information needed to open an account:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Birth date
  • Bank information
  • Minimum of $25 contribution

Coverdell Education Savings Account

This is a tax-advantaged investment account designed to cover future expenses (elementary, secondary or college), tuition, books, or uniform(s). The money in the account will grow tax-deferred, and withdrawals will be tax free as long as it’s used for eligible college expenses.

Quick facts:

  • Lower contribution limits compared to a 529 account
  • There is an age limit of 30 years old for the beneficiary.
  • Allows you to withdraw for qualified elementary and secondary expenses
  • Income level of donor may affect contributions.

Savings Account

A conservative option would be to invest in a traditional savings account at your local bank. This option can be appealing, as it has a lower risk and can come with fee-free accounts. Just make sure to shop around for the best interest rate, as an average rate is 0.06 percent.

Fund-Boosting Programs


Register for a free account to earn money whenever you’re shopping, dining, or traveling. Whenever shopping online, make sure to shop through the Upromise link to earn a percentage back on your purchase. The best part is that it can be linked to your 529 plan without any hassle. 


This is a great suggestion for relatives who are struggling to get a meaningful gift when it comes time for special occasions. It’s a convenient service that allows a contribution to a 529 plan anytime online or by mail.


If you’re planning ahead for your child’s college savings, I hope you found some helpful advice to get you started with the right plan for your family.


Angelica was raised in West Liberty just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Iowa City. After getting married to her high school sweetheart and living in the D.C. metro area, they decided it was not where they wanted to raise a family, and moved back to Iowa in 2012. They welcomed their daughter nine months after moving back. Then in 2018 added a yellow lab to their family. Angelica enjoys running, reading, and binge watching shows with her husband. She loves Disney, Reese's, and being a mom.


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