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Let's Talk College Costs...Fall Freshman Year

May 10th, 2017 at 06:04 am

So let's go back in time. My daughter graduated high school two years ago, May 2015. At the time her ESA account was valued at $22,588.50. She also has a UTMA that was valued at $2,608.19. The total of the two was $25,196.69. All of that was saved by us, except for maybe $1000 worth of gifts from grandparents, and some market appreciation.

My daughter was enrolled in 16 credit hours (at the non resident rate) for Fall 2015. Tuition and fees totaled $12,044. Housing for first semester was $5,154. Yep, a $17,198 bill!

The good news is she had scholarships! That semester those came to $10,000 (current scholarship per semester is still at $7,250) Leaving us a balance of $7,198 to pay.

I had to look back at my blog to find what actually happened. But the plan was to pay the tuition portion ($2,044) out of pocket and pay the housing $5,154 from her ESA. But what actually happened was I paid the full $7,198 out of our savings account when the bill was due in early September.

I then paid ourselves back with two withdrawals later in the year from the ESA. The market was down at the time, so it was hard to pull the sell trigger! Those amounts were $1,718 and $1,436. Which together equal $3154. Which is less than I originally planned to withdrawal by $2000.

The remaining amounts did come from savings and cash flow that was not original designated for college expenses. I had also changed our withholding once I realized we would benefit from the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This netted us $259 per pay period or $518 a month that we made sure to put back into savings for four months ($2,072).

So in the end we did pay $4,044 out of our own savings for the first semester. The remaining $3,154 was from her ESA. No loans! Smile

$12,044 Tuition and Fees
_$5,154 Housing
$17,198 Total Bill Before Scholarships
($10,000) Scholarships
_$7,198 Total after Scholarships
($3,154) Paid from ESA
($2,044)Saved Withholding/American Opportunity Credit
($2,000) Paid from Savings
-$0

It's interesting for me to go back and look. I had no idea we actually paid more out of pocket that first semester than what we withdrew from her ESA. One thing I remembered is that we had been saving $166 a month ($2000/year) for many years into her ESA. I don't specifically save that money into our savings for education but that is where some of the money comes from. ESA's require you stop investing on the child's 18th birthday.

Questions? I'll post Spring Freshman Year next.

4 Responses to “Let's Talk College Costs...Fall Freshman Year”

  1. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Excellent break down. Did you save from birth to 18 the $2k/year? Do you remember how many years you saved to get the $22k? Is it possible to look back?

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    We started saving in the ESA March 2006, our daughter would have just turned 9. I don't think we put $2K in EVERY year, there may have been a year or two we didn't. I wish we started earlier, but our household income was far less when she was little and we had other priorities.

  3. My English Castle Says:

    Thanks, CCF. I see some of my students so weighed down by the need to work so many hours, it's really motivating to save.

  4. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    So in 9 years you saved and had returns of $22k. That's impressive.

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