US News and World Report’s annual college ranking survey breaks schools into several academic divisions – National Schools, which are schools with doctoral and research programs, medical schools, and law schools; schools that offer up to a masters’ degree; and schools that offer only baccalaureates. To further complicate things, a couple of these categories are subdivided further by geographic region. Here is a sampling of schools that grant masters’ degrees and beyond.
Top National Universities
7.University of Pennsylvania
9.University of Chicago
College Savings Tips
These tips provide great information for getting started and ensuring you continue to build your college fund successfully.
- Start as soon as you can. Whether you are expecting your first child or you are a high school student just looking at college options, start investing as soon as you can to give yourself time to build as much money as possible.
- Save often. Put money back as frequently as you can to help build your college fund.
- Get your finances in order. Make sure you have a good handle on your personal finances and spending habits to ensure your success with your investment and saving goals.
- Understand the risks and benefits of your investments. Every investment has risks and benefits. Make sure you clearly understand each before you invest any of your money.
- Diversify. Split your investments into a few different types of accounts. Putting money into separate types of accounts not only adds a layer of security so that you don’t lose everything in one bad investment, it also allows you to invest some money into safer accounts with lower returns while investing other money into riskier accounts with higher returns.
- Go automatic. Making automatic payments each payday removes the money before you even miss it and ensures you are contributing regularly to your investment.
- Ask for gifts. Ask friends and family to consider contributing to college funds for birthday and holiday gifts they would normally give anyway.
- Invest unexpected income. If you receive a large gift, get a large income tax refund, or get a bonus at work, invest that money so that it will work for you in the long run.
- Increase your savings. Build an increase into your savings goals. If you receive a raise, bump your savings by that same percentage. Even if you don’t receive a raise, make sure you are increasing your savings rate at least once a year to keep up with tuition inflation.
- Redirect money. When you finish paying something off such as a car or child care when your child enters school, then redirect that money to your savings.
- Examine spending habits. Track your spending for a few months, then take a close look at where your money is going and determine if you can cut back on certain areas and invest that money instead of spending it.