What does the green area called "Not funded by you" represent in this type of college 529 calculator?

Source calculator here.

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  • 7
    $600,000 for college for one person? Can that be right?
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 9:25
  • 1
    @gerrit Input includes today's annual cost (60K), and expected cost increase (5% pa), which would make cost for the first year of tuition 60k*(1.05^17)=137.5K.
    – David
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 10:41
  • 1
    @gerrit Implicit in your question seems to be either an assumption that inflation will continue to be close to zero for 17 years, or request to forecast inflation over 17 years. I have no idea whether 5% is a reasonable assumption, but it doesn't seem totally wacky. Anyway, between 2000 and 2019, US inflation has been ~2%, but (eg) Cornell's fees have gone from 21K to >56K (irp.dpb.cornell.edu/university-factbook/tuition). No idea if that's representative. But makes 5% seem quite plausible assuming minimal inflation
    – David
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 13:43
  • 7
    @gerrit The USA is experiencing deflation in transportable goods and significant inflation in non-transportable goods due to trade with China and other BRIC nations and emerging economies (I'll use BRIC as short hand); the cost of labour in BRIC is very low, so any good you can manufacture there has had its price collapse. Monetary policy decisions produces "more cash" until average inflation is just above zero; with a massive downward pressure on transportable goods, this leads to inflation in non-transporable goods. Housing, health care, education, ...
    – Yakk
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 14:56
  • 1
    @reirab these trends are by no means confined to the Ivy League. Consider the price history of U Michigan Ann Arbor, for instance: collegetuitioncompare.com/trends/… -- 20% (instate) and 30% (out-of-state) price increases in the previous 10 years. research.collegeboard.org/trends/college-pricing/highlights indicates $10.5k average in-state and $27k average out-of-state tuition and fees. None of this includes room and board (with housing being another class of product that is massively inflating in the past 30 years.)
    – Tiercelet
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


One of the items on the left hand side is "% of cost you plan to cover" which you've set to 50%. So you're expecting that half the cost will be covered by someone else. That's the "Not funded by you" section of the results.

This "Not funded by you" number includes things like financial aid, scholarships, loans. Basically anything that is paying for college that isn't your savings.

  • 4
    Gifts from relatives, college funds previously funded by parents, GoFundMe campaigns, and the like. Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 18:49

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