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Probably less than you think. Once you factor in any grants, scholarships, and education tax benefits you and your child are likely to get, your net pricethat is, the amount you pay out of pocketmay be much lower than the college’s published tuition and fees.

Most colleges have net price calculators on their websites to help you estimate how much you'll pay. You can also use the College Board's Net Price Calculator, available on BigFuture, to determine your net price at hundreds of colleges around the country.