Financial Planning Perspectives: Tackling the tuition bill

September 12, 2016


Part of Vanguard's Financial Planning Perspectives research series

Financial advice is more nuanced than ever, with clients seeking individualized attention that caters to their unique circumstances. Financial Planning Perspectives is a series of research-based publications that offers sophisticated planning concepts explained in a way that balances theory and practice.

Tackling the tuition bill

College tuition is one of the most important–and expensive–investments your clients might make. Strategic spending plans are vital to ensure that clients meet their spending needs without threatening other long-term financial goals, such as retirement.

This research paper examines how optimizing asset and income sources, using tax benefits, and spending strategically from 529 savings plans can help minimize the costs of college.

Use this paper to:

  • Understand the factors that affect financial aid.
  • Examine a framework for creating a college spending plan that takes into account financial-aid impacts and tax efficiency.
  • Evaluate hypothetical spending plans for college costs, and see the benefits of an efficient spending strategy.
Additional materials


All investing is subject to risk, including possible loss of principal.


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