Succeed at college planning using these tools

As a parent, you dream of a bright future for your children. Part of that dream includes seeing your loved ones graduate—without a lot of debt.  

The prospect of paying college bills may feel overwhelming,tools.jpgand that's completely understandable. Luckily, however, you have a powerful savings option like your 529 plan account. Plus, you can use the free online planning resources below to help you reach your goal.    

See how much college could cost

How much will college cost when your kids are ready to attend? Use this calculator to estimate future costs for both public and private schools.  

Learn how much you need to save

This tool estimates how much you may need to invest each month. If you can't save the recommended amount right now, don't be discouraged. Just save what you can. Remember, every dollar you save is one less you will have to potentially borrow down the road!

Invest wisely

Many 529 plans offer simplified investment selections based on whether you're a conservative, moderate, or aggressive investor. These portfolios automatically adjust their holdings based on your child's age. That means they invest more in stocks (which have higher risk but higher return potential) when a child is young and shift more money to lower-risk bonds and cash (like a money market account) later on.

  • If you're not sure which type of investor you are, complete this short questionnaire to find out.
  • If you already know which type of investor you are and/or you prefer to create your own mix of investments, choose Option 2—Select your temperament from this asset allocation resource to determine an appropriate option based on your child's age.

Calculate short-term tax savings

Since you've chosen a 529 plan that allows you to deduct your contributions, you can calculate those state income tax savings here.*

Use these resources regularly to stay on track

Planning for a major expense like education takes years, so bookmark these resources for future use. In the months and years ahead, they may help as you work to make those college dreams a reality.   


All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

For more information about any 529 college savings plan, contact the plan provider to obtain a Program Description, which includes investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information; read and consider it carefully before investing. If you are not a taxpayer of the state offering the plan, consider before investing whether your or the designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's qualified tuition program. Vanguard Marketing Corporation serves as distributor and underwriter for some 529 plans.

*This tool isn't intended to constitute, nor does it constitute, tax advice. You should consult your own tax advisor for more information on the tax implications of investing in a 529 plan based on your own particular circumstances.

Bond funds are subject to the risk that an issuer will fail to make payments on time, and that bond prices will decline because of rising interest rates or negative perceptions of an issuer's ability to make payments.

Investments in bonds are subject to interest rate, credit, and inflation risk.