With college costs continuing to climb, it's harder than ever for parents to solve the problem of how to pay for college without sacrificing their own financial security. But with the right strategies, you can make the most of the resources at your disposal and improve your chances of helping your kids avoid crippling student loans while still staying solvent yourself.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at three things to consider about how to pay for college. Dan notes that using 529 plans are a great way to use tax-free benefits to help invest money toward college expenses. He discusses findings from Morningstar that name Vanguard, T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ:TROW), and BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) as solid 529-plan managers, while a 529 plan distributed by Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) got less attractive marks from Morningstar.

Dan also suggests several steps to consider in order to try to increase financial aid and reduce your parental contribution toward your child's education. Finally, Dan notes the many opportunities for other cost-cutting moves, ranging from fellowships and scholarships to seeking out more cost-effective schools.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends BlackRock. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.