How to Pay for College

The tab for a four-year education is mind-boggling. But don’t panic: You don’t have to save the entire cost.

Vicki and George Petrides started saving for college shortly after their oldest daughter was born. Now Kaelyn, 18, is starting her second year at Virginia Tech, and her sisters, Laurel, 15, and Anna, 9, aren't too far behind. "With three children, college expenses are a big number to deal with," says George. By the time the Petrideses' daughters finish college, they could face a total tab of $500,000 or more. And the couple have long set their sights on getting all three of their daughters through their undergraduate years without any debt.

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Kaitlin Pitsker
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Pitsker joined Kiplinger in the summer of 2012. Previously, she interned at the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y., and with Chronogram magazine in Kingston, N.Y. She holds a BS in magazine journalism from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.