A great number of people attending colleges and universities today rely on a combination of financial resources to cover their tuition and expenses such as:

  • Academic scholarships
  • Athletic scholarships
  • Financial aid
  • Student loans

But what if you wanted to be able to send your children to school using only your own financial resources. Perhaps, because of your income, they would not qualify for financial aid. Or maybe you don’t want them to be worried about competing for scholarships or fretting over paying back huge loans just after they graduate. How much money would you need to save?

So, you’ve decided to foot the bill alone. Let’s say that the twins are 3 years old. That gives you 15 years to save money for their college tuition and expenses. You’ve decided that your son will attend Cornell, your alma matter, and your daughter will go to Columbia like your wife. Currently the cost of one academic year as a full-time student living on campus, including room and board and other expenses, is almost $35 thousand at Cornell and a little over $35 thousand at Columbia. Tuition and expenses will obviously be more 15 years from now.

To project the anticipated costs, factor in an annual rate of increase at 6 percent. You see that you will need approximately $340,000 for a 4-year degree at Columbia and about $334,000 at Cornell. So, altogether, you will need about $674,000 for your children’s tuition, and you have 15 years to come up with that money. How much will you have to put away each month?

You decide that you want the money somewhere you can get to it in the event there’s an emergency. The local credit union offers a money market account with 5 percent interest. Using a basic compound interest calculator (like the one found at this Web site: http://www.bygpub.com/finance/InterestCalc.htm), you discover that you need to save between $2,325 and $2,350 each month to afford the Ivy League schools. This is a lot of money to try to squirrel away, especially considering the money you will be spending every day to raise the children!

Instead of Ivy League schools, you may want to consider a public university. This would cut your anticipated expenses to about $105,000 per twin -- making your monthly savings payments a more reasonable $725 each month.