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Cool College Saving Tools for Students

With the cost of tuition rising steadily and showing no signs of slowing, saving for college has become more important than ever. If you're a bit behind where you'd like to be, don't fret. There are many handy tools online that can help you boost your college fund and get back on track. Here are five college savings tools to explore today.

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1. Upromise

Upromise is a free college savings service that has partnered with thousands of restaurants, supermarkets, drugstores and online marketplaces to help students save money for education. Partners include Disney, Target, Barnes and Noble, McDonalds, Dell, Exxon Mobil and other big companies. After signing up for a free Upromise membership, you can begin getting 1 - 25% of your money back when you shop online retailers through Upromise and 1 - 3% of your money back when you buy eligible items at a registered supermarket or drugstore. You can also get up to 8% of your money back from more than 8,000 different restaurants. To help you save even more with your membership, Upromise lets you invite friends and family members to participate in your college savings plans. Many members of Upromise have earned $1,000 or more each year just by buying groceries, school supplies and other things they would have purchased anyway.

2. Savingforcollege.com

Savingforcollege.com is a Bankrate website dedicated to helping students meet the challenge of paying for college. The site is one of the best places on the Web to research and compare 529 savings plans. You can learn more about 529 plans from every state and see plan ratings for both in-state and out-of-state investors. Savingforcollege.com also offers tools to help you find professional advisors and enroll directly in a 529 college savings plan online.

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3. Freshman Fund

Freshman Fund is a great site for students who want to make it easy for family and friends to donate to their college fund. After deciding how much they want to give, donors provide the email address of the student to whom they want to donate. Freshman Fund then places the donation into the student's chosen 529 savings plan. The site gives students the option of using a 529 plan that they've already established or creating a new plan specifically for donations.

4. GiveForward

Similar to Freshman Fund, GiveForward also allows people to donate to your college fund. The difference with this site is that you don't have to have a 529 savings plan to participate. All you have to do is use the site's tool to create a free personal fundraising page for yourself. Then, give the URL to people who may want to donate to your personal fund by a date you set. When your fundraising page expires, GiveForward sends you a check for the money that has been collected.

5. GreenNote

GreenNote is a good site to look into if you haven't been able to save enough for college and need to borrow money to cover your education costs. The site helps students obtain education loans via social networking. All you have to do is contact your friends, family, community members and other people who may be willing to help you and ask for small student loans. GreenNote will handle all of the paperwork to change your request into a legally binding contract. You'll get the money you need for school at a low fixed rate (6.8%) and your social network will get the satisfaction of helping you while making a return on their investment.

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