5 Ways to Save on Some of Your Baby's $312,000 in College Debt

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The "real" cost of college at a private university is $129,700, for a four-year undergraduate degree, according to Savingforcollege.com.

That's a bargain compared with the estimated cost in 18 years, which clocks in at $312,200, the website says.

For $312,000, you can buy a beautiful beachfront home down in Naples, Fla. Or, if you invested $312,000 today at 8% annual compound interest, in 18 years you'd have accumulated $1,246,758.08 -- more than enough to live comfortably the rest of your life, if you manage it right.

But the world doesn't work that way, and there are plenty of families standing in line to pay for that high cost of college and incur those huge college financial costs. They should know it's all about saving money and keeping costs down as much as possible.

The California Society of CPAs, a nonprofit representing more than 45,000 Golden State certified public accountants, has some ideas on curbing the costs of a college education:

Fight for every penny. Financial aid is based on a federal government formula that calculates your family income, assets, family size, number of children in college and other factors. There's also an estimate called the Expected Family Contribution, which is the portion of the college bill the family is expected to cover. If that figure comes in too high, contact the financial aid offices of the colleges your son or daughter has applied to and explain your situation (such as high medical bills or loss of a job) that affect your ability to pay for college. Financial aid offices can and will cut you a better deal, but you have to ask them first.

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