Celebrating as a family member graduates high school and attends college is a monumental event and the culmination of years of hard work. However, paying for college remains a significant source of stress for many households. It's no secret that college costs have risen much faster than inflation over the past 40 years, increasing the financial burden on families as they set money aside and on graduates once they enter the workforce. And yet, there are numerous professional and personal benefits to pursuing higher education for those who wish to do so. Weighing the costs against the benefits while considering personal priorities and the broader economic picture makes college planning a complex topic.