Many states are celebrating College Savings Day today (May 29th) in order to promote their 529 savings programs. I was lucky enough to be invited to a blogger event yesterday (more on that awesome experience here) where I learned about my state’s program and what it can mean for our children and grandchildren. I’ll admit that lately have I have been very disillusioned by the postsecondary educational system. But I realize now that it isn’t necessarily the educational system that I take issue with. I actually always loved learning. What I take issue with is the cost of education — especially if you end up having to borrow money to go to school. I was fortunate in that I was able to get through my undergraduate years on an honors scholarship. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything as those were very formative years and I made some lifelong friends (in addition to learning a lot).
Graduate school, however, has been a completely different animal. I had to take out student loans. I will be done in a few short weeks and have already been sent a bill that is due not too long after I receive my masters. I admit that my joy at finishing has been completely tainted by the fact that I am already expected to begin what will likely be decades of paying off the tremendous amount of student loan debt that I have racked up trying to get through my master’s program. It has seriously made me regret going past my bachelor’s degree.
However, I don’t want my jaded views of postsecondary education to effect my son’s views of it. I would also love to do anything I can to prevent him from having the same type of debt that I will have. If he wants to go to college, I want him to be able to go without worrying about how he will pay for it. That’s why I am really considering starting a college investing plan for him. While listening to the panel discussion yesterday (which included actual account holders), I felt that spark being reignited. The excitement of my son pursuing a debt-free higher education. I want to secure that for him.
Of course I had plenty of questions about the program.
How affordable is it? $25 to start and a minimum of $10 per month placed in the account.
How can the savings be applied? Tuition, certain room and board costs, required fees, books, and supplies.
Which schools will accept it? Any accredited school, whether it is 2 year or 4 year. Even trade/vocational schools and graduate schools.
What if Christian receives a scholarship or decides he doesn’t want to go to college? I can assign someone else as the beneficiary — even myself. I am also able to withdraw the money if I want to.
Arkansas even has a matching grant program (for those who qualify) where they will match your annual gift plan contributions of up to $500 per calendar year. It seems like a really great program. If you’d like to learn more about this college savings program, you can visit the Gift College Investing Plan website.
Also, be sure to check out their $529 giveaway (for Arkansas residents)!
Click on the image below to register:
And here is how to get started (click on image):