More families are saving for college than ever before, according to a 2016 Sallie Mae survey. Of the parents surveyed, 57% reported that they are saving for their child’s education, up from 48% in 2015. While general savings accounts remain the most popular way to save, more than one-third of parents are using 529 college savings plans. And parents with a 529 plan have saved more than those using other types of accounts.

College preparation is a complex and challenging process. This year-by-year guide provides useful ideas for high-school students and their parents as they prepare for college.

The process of preparing for college can involve multiple strategies that must consider potential tax advantages and liabilities. Assets outside of college savings accounts add to the complexity of planning. Parents must be mindful of account ownership and income that can affect their child’s eligibility for financial aid. At all stages of planning for college, it is important to meet with a financial professional.

Resources: Putnam college savings calculator, FAFSA, “Strategies to make the most of college savings,” U.S. News, “Why a college student needs a health-care proxy.”


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Putnam 529 for America is sponsored by the State of Nevada, acting through the Trustees of the College Savings Plans of Nevada and the Nevada College Savings Trust Fund. Anyone may invest in the plan and use the proceeds to attend school in any state. Before investing, consider whether your state’s plan or that of your beneficiary offers state tax and other benefits not available through Putnam 529 for America. If you withdraw money for something other than qualified higher education expenses, you will owe federal income tax and may face a 10% federal tax penalty on earnings. Consult your tax advisor.

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Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of any fund before investing. For an offering statement containing this and other information for Putnam 529 for America, contact your financial representative or call Putnam at 1-877-PUTNAM529. Please read the offering statement carefully before investing.

Putnam Retail Management, principal underwriter and distributor. Putnam Investment Management, investment manager.