Paying for college is rarely an all-or-nothing proposition. For most families, it involves a three-pronged approach:

  • Savings
  • Financial Aid
  • Loans

That's because few students receive full scholarships, and not many families can afford the full cost of college on their current income. The exact mix of savings, financial aid and loans matters and greatly influences the true cost of college.

When you start early and save often — even as little as $25 a month — can potentially reduce your out-of-pocket cost significantly. The reason is simple: every dollar saved is a dollar you won't have to borrow and pay interest on later.

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