Consider joining a prepaid tuition 529 plan to take advantage of current tuition rates at private colleges.

Get a Break on Private College Tuition With Prepaid Plans

Lock in tuition prices at more than 270 private colleges with specialty 529 plans.

Consider joining a prepaid tuition 529 plan to take advantage of current tuition rates at private colleges.
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While every state's system is a bit different, Maryland's prepaid plan lets families use tuition credits based on a weighted average tuition of Maryland's public colleges. This year, that's $8,900, says Joan Marshall, executive director of College Savings Plans of Maryland. The family would have to pay the difference in price.

If parents bought a year's tuition in March 2003, they would have paid about $6,300 for about $9,000 worth of tuition that can be used for a private college in the 2013-2014 school year. "With our plan, more than half of our students who are using their plan are attending a private or out-of-state college," Marshall says.

Ultimately, families should choose what's best for them. "There are many college tuition savings options that exist and no plan is a one size fits all," says The Private 529 Plan's Farmer.

Trying to fund your education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.