Cost of Waiting Tool

It is never too late to begin saving for college, but beginning as soon as possible is important due to the impact of compounding growth. If you begin now, you may need to save considerably less than if you wait a few years. This calculator helps you estimate the cost of waiting by calculating how much extra you will need to save if you wait.

Current annual college cost   
College name or type
Public 4-year school, in-state
Years until college   
Number of years in college   
Education cost inflation rate   
Hypothetical annual rate of return   

Show National Averages
Search by Name
Search by State
Select a college below:
National average costs include tuition & fees, books & supplies, and room & board.
National Average Cost Data: © 2021 The College Board, “Trends in College Pricing 2020”
Individual College Cost Data: © 2021 SS&C.

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Report Options:

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The Cost of Waiting Tool uses the specified hypothetical fixed average annual rate of return to estimate hypothetical earnings on education savings.

The Cost of Waiting Tool uses the education cost inflation rate to estimate future college costs. The college cost inflation rate has tended to be higher than general inflation. On average, college costs have historically increased by between approximately 5% and 7% per year.

The Cost of Waiting tool uses an estimate of the cost of one year of college in today’s dollars along with the Education Cost Inflation input to estimate future college costs. A national average cost or the cost for a specific school (comprehensive costs with tuition & mandatory fees plus room & board or tuition and mandatory fees only) can be selected from the select “College Search” function, or a customized college cost amount can be entered.