Ohio Tuition Trust Authority

Cost of Waiting Tool

Saving for college early gives your money more time to grow

The sooner you start saving for college, the quicker you can take advantage of compounding interest and the longer you will have to grow your savings. Though it's never too late to begin, when your child is very young is an ideal time to start saving. This calculator estimates the cost of waiting and shows you approximately how much more you'll need to save if you don't start soon.

Current annual college cost   
Public 4-year school, in-state

Years until college   
Number of years in college   
Education cost inflation rate   
Hypothetical annual rate of return   


For the purposes of this calculator, college costs include tuition, fees, room & board, books & supplies, as supplied to the College Board and DST Systems, Inc., an SS&C company from the institutions. The average costs are based on two and four year, public and private colleges nationally. There are different kinds of institutions in each region, and because of this, there may be a large variation in the actual costs for specific institutions.

This calculator assumes that overall college costs (education cost inflation) will increase each year by the rate you selected for each child's costs, with a default of 5%. The impact of inflation on higher education expenses is uncertain and the rate of inflation could exceed the rate of return on your investments. This calculator also allows you to enter your hypothetical average annual rate of return. You may wish to choose a conservative hypothetical annual rate of return. The default is 6% if you do not choose a different specific return.

The savings goals depicted by this calculator are an estimate based on certain assumptions and cannot guarantee that the sufficient amount of money will be saved. The calculation results are estimates based on the information you have provided. To help understand and use the calculation output effectively, please note the following items:

  • This calculation is for hypothetical purposes only. The information entered may vary from actual individual circumstances. The calculation relies on certain assumptions in addition to the information you provided and does not guarantee future performance of any investment option. The Ohio Tuition Trust Authority will not be liable for any damages arising from the use or misuse of this calculator or from any errors or omission in the same. Use of this calculator does not in any way establish any agreement or relationship between the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority and any individual who is not an account owner of the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority, nor does it alter in any way the agreement between the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority and any account owner, which is contained in the Plan Offering Statement and Participation Agreement. The calculator should not be solely relied upon when making investment decisions.
  • Any calculation does not take into account the costs or fees associated with (1) transferring assets between the accounts, (2) the differences in the rate of return on investments within the account, (3) investing in the Plan (i.e., total average fee), or (4) the effect of federal and/or state taxes.
  • This calculator allows you to enter your hypothetical average annual rate of return.
  • State income tax rules on how withdrawals are handled may vary. The calculator results do not take into account any state tax issues.
  • If your state offers a 529 plan you may want to consider what, if any, potential state income tax or other benefits it offers, before investing. State tax or other benefits should be one of many factors to be considered prior to making an investment decision. Please consult with your financial, tax or other advisor about how these state benefits, if any, may apply to your specific circumstances.
  • Ohio taxpayers receive a state tax benefit for investing with CollegeAdvantage. See the Plan Offering Statement for specific details.

Show National Averages
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Select a college below:
National average costs include tuition & fees, books & supplies, and room & board.
National Average Cost Data: © 2023 The College Board, “Trends in College Pricing
Individual College Cost Data: © 2023 SS&C

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The calculator uses the specified hypothetical annual rate of return to estimate hypothetical earnings on education savings. The default is set at 6%. You may specify another hypothetical annual rate of return. There is no guarantee that the rate used here will be achieved.

Education cost increase rates vary by school type, by the period of time examined, by region of the country and by other factors.

Tuition and fees for a public 4-year college have been rising at a national average rate of approximately 5% annually for 2004-2005 to 2014-2015. This tool assumes a college cost inflation rate of 5% per year. You can enter a different estimated cost inflation rate based on what you think will be the expected rate of tuition increase.

Enter the current annual costs for your preferred college or college type. You may click "Select Cost or Specific College" to view and select an estimated college cost figure for a specific college or a national average, or you may enter your own custom amount.

Public 2-year school $14,930
Public 4-year school, in-state $24,490
Public 4-year school, out-of-state $41,790
Private 4-year school, average $54,670