In a perfect world, all parents would stop on their way home from the hospital to open a college savings account for their newborn. Eighteen or so years down the road their consistent monthly contributions -- sizably supplemented, thanks to the miracle of compounded interest -- would easily cover the cost of tuition.
Except that in the real world, if you're like my husband and me, paying for college seemed light-years away, making it easy to postpone putting money aside -- especially when you had bills up the wazoo for stuff like daycare, braces, music lessons, and camp. But now high school is winding down. Higher education is around the corner and you're coming up on pay-the-piper time. And you're stressing. To put it mildly.
Good news: When all is said and done, lots of families don't end up having to pay the full fee in cash. From grants to loans to part-time jobs, there are many ways to cover costs. Easy? No. Possible? Yes, with some inside info.