Lock in today's tuition for your kid's later college career 

Nancy Farmer is the executive director of Private College 529 Plan, a prepaid program that allows parents to save for private universities in the future at today’s rates. The rate rises each July 1.

What is the Private College 529 Plan? It’s a program where private colleges across the country have come together with the purpose of helping keep tuition affordable.

What are the benefits of the plan? For the last 20 years, tuition increases have averaged about 5 percent each year. If that continues, in less than 15 years tuition costs will double. But by prepaying today, you’re basically buying tuition at a 50 percent off sale.

How does it work? In effect, you purchase your prepay tuition. For a 2-, 3- or 4-year-old now, you’re paying for college at today’s prices when these kids are old enough to attend. Starting a plan earlier is better.

Can you choose any college to put the money toward? You’re not buying tuition for any one school. Instead, we have a list of schools that are participating.

Which Northern California universities participate? Mills College, St. Mary’s College of California, Stanford and University of the Pacific.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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Lauren Gallagher

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