Saving up for a college education

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- The start of a new school year is a good time to revisit your plans for saving for a child's college education. Whether you need to save more, or you're not saving at all, we have some tips to get you on the right track.

How do most families pay for college? According to an annual survey from student lender Sallie Mae, 30 percent of the total cost comes from grants and scholarships. The rest comes  from parents' and students' income, savings and borrowing, with a small percentage of help from relatives and friends.

Sallie Mae also found only half of families are actively saving for higher education. The other half cite reasons such as not having enough extra income, or other financial priorities.

Any amount of savings is a step in the right direction. College aid guide recommends simple steps like making savings automatic, either with a direct payroll deduction into a college fund, or sending money from a checking account right to savings.

Redirect old monthly payments towards a college fund. If you finish paying off a credit card or other loan, throw the amount of money you were spending, into savings.

And the solutions to paying for college don't end with a diploma. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says about one-quarter of U.S. workers are in public sector jobs that could be eligible for some sort of student loan forgiveness, including teachers, librarians, law enforcement, nurses and more.