This probably won’t be relevant by the time I need to think about saving for my as-yet-notional children’s college education, but it’s still super-useful: the [newspaper: New York Times]’s Economix blog runs down the numbers.
Basically the big questions I had going into the article were:
1. Why bother saving at all, if every dollar saved is one more dollar that you need to contribute to your kids’ college educations? (Short answer: one dollar saved implies less than one dollar of contribution.)
2. Are any savings vehicles beyond the reach of the financial-aid authorities? (Short answer: yes, 401(k)s and home equity don’t factor into the calculation. This suggests a new term: “college-aid shelter”. It’s analogous to a tax shelter.)
So consider this a link for future reference.