"If the student can live with parents while attending the community college, that will save the family the cost of residence halls or off-campus apartment rent," Lewis says.
However, students can still rack up costs if they don't watch other parts of their total budget: transportation, dining out and entertainment. Families need to come up with a total budget that allows 529 plans to be untouched until students enter their junior year at a four-year university.
Trying to save for college? Get tips and more in the U.S. News College Savings 101 center.