Preparing for the Future 101 Saving for college requires plenty of advanced planning. You'll first need to know how long it will be before your student sets foot on campus, what the cost of that education is today and how much the cost could increase between now and then. You'll need to know how many years of college you'll be paying for, which depends on the degree program being pursued. With that information, you can estimate how much to save. Use this calculator to help you put together a plan based on your current savings, how much more you can save each month and the rate of return you'll receive on those savings.