JOPLIN, MO.--- "Well right now, we're definitely looking at a lot of financial aid. Fast Aid is a really important college application that I feel like a lot of students should really look into and try to feel out as soon as possible," said Saniya Ablatt, JHS senior
As Joplin High School Senior Saniya Ablatt is already feeling the college saving pressure, as do most families. A local finance professor says the most popular savings route is a 529 plan, which is similar to a 401K.
"You put money in and it grows tax deferred, you don't have to pay taxes on the returns and then when you pull it out, you don't have to pay taxes as long as it's used for qualified educational expenses," said Brian Nichols, MSSU Associate Finance Professor.
He says the average cost for a college in Missouri is about $9,000 a year and private school is $30,000 a year, but that's just tuition. Students should consider housing and food expenses, as well as text books and various other costs.
"Student recreation fees, parking fees, course fees. So you have to considered all the cost, not just tuition when you're looking at the amount that you need to save," said Nichols.
Ablatt's parents have been saving since she was in elementary school and have even invested into apartments they can sell if they were to get into financial trouble.
"As a senior looking at the medical field or any field for that reason, it's just so scary. I want to make sure when I get out of college that I'm not piled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt," said Ablatt.
She says anytime there was extra money or when she won scholarship money, her parents would place it into a college fund. Last year, more than 60% of Missouri college seniors who graduated had more than $23,000 in debt.
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