The average cost of attending a four-year public university in 2016 is about $9,000 per year. This does not include room and board. Student loans are available but are likely to leave your child or grandchild with significant debt before they even receive their first paycheck. With the various college savings plans available, you can get a loved one off on the right foot and help to eliminate the financial burden of student loan debt for them down the road. The investment gains can compound tax free, the student can access the money tax free for school purposes, and in some cases you are able to deduct your contributions from your taxes.