September – College Savings Month
In honor of College Savings Month, 529 plans across the country celebrate in a varieties of ways, including holding promotions, contests, initiatives, and virtual events. While saving for college is important year-round, College Savings Month is an especially good time to inform and remind parents, grandparents, and relatives that a 529 plan is the easiest way to save for higher education. Check with your plan to find out how it is celebrating this year.
The following is a listing of College Savings Month activities from 2020:
College Counts – Alabama’s 529 Fund: College counts is sharing information regarding College Savings Month and 529 savings on social media and in a press release and will highlight one of their scholarship winners.
Alaska 529: Alaska 529 is conducting its annual 25k scholarship account giveaway and celebration. Additionally, the program is launching a new website, accompanied by a social media scavenger hunt to encourage people to explore the new site.
T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan – Offered by the Education Trust of Alaska: The 529 Plan program managed by T. Rowe Price is being highlighted throughout September in digital newsletters and magazines distributed to T. Rowe Price clients.
AZ529: The Arizona Treasurer’s Office released a proclamation at the start of the month and is promoting Arizona’s 529 weekly with information on social media.
DC College Savings Plan: The DC College Savings plan is reminding account owners to continue to save what they can, if possible, and will be encouraging account owners to use the Ascensus College Savings Calculator to check and see how they are progressing and to contribute.
Florida Prepaid: From September 14 – October 31, Florida Prepaid is offering a special promotion Big Dreams Start Early allowing families to enroll in a Prepaid Plan for free – saving the $50 application fee when they use the promo code “DREAMBIG20“when opening a new account.
Gift of College: Gift of College is hosting a ‘The Price is Right’ style Facebook sweepstakes. Audiences have the chance to answer three college savings themed questions over the course of the month for the chance to win one of three $250 Gift of College gift cards.
Illinois Bright Start 529 Plan: To account for the ongoing restrictions for in-person events in Illinois, Bright Start is hosting a series of webinars throughout September entitled “529 Basics: How To Save for College and on Taxes.” In time for College Savings Month and Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month, Bright Start is launching Bright Start’s Spanish-language website in mid-September.
Ideal Idaho College Savings Program: Ideal is offering a $25 match for the first 100 new accounts that set up an auto funding method. Additionally, Ideal will be leading discussions on the relevancy and importance of 529 savings accounts.
Indiana CollegeChoice 529: Governor Eric Holcomb has proclaimed September as College Savings Month in Indiana. Indiana is also hosting its Save to Win Sweepstakes. One Indiana resident who contributes to their 529 Direct or Advisor Account during the month of September will win a $5,000 account deposit. Additionally, CollegeChoice CD 529 Savings Plan is sponsoring a Savingsforcollege.com webinar on September 17. One participant will win a $500 CollegeChoice CD account deposit. Executive Director Marissa Rowe will serve as a panelist for the webinar.
College Savings Iowa: Iowa is celebrating College Savings Month with a technology and contribution giveaway for the College Savings Iowa 529 Plan. From September 1 – 30, Iowans with children and grandchildren under the age of 18 can register for a chance to win an Apple iPad and $529 College Savings Iowa contribution.
Kansas Learning Quest 529: Kansas Learning Quest 529 is hosting a social media contest for Kansas parents and grandparents 529 Reasons to Celebrate College Savings Month. Contest entrants will explain why they are saving with a 529 plan, and four winners will receive $1,529 towards a new or existing Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Account. Additionally, the State Treasurer’s office is launching a grassroots effort to enlist the help of every school in the state in filling Kansas’ 529 match grant program. The “KIDS Matching Grant” program has the funding to provide 1,200 Kansas residents up to $600 in match dollars.
Louisiana’s Student Tuition Assistance & Revenue Trust (START): The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA Programs) is sharing information on their social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) to promote September College Savings Month and Louisiana’s Savings Programs. This includes videos on how to create a START 529 Account, creative ways for kids and their parents to start saving early for college, and fun fact about START 529, START K12, and the importance of budgeting and saving for college.
Maryland 529: Maryland 529 is hosting a live Intro to College Savings webinar on Wednesday, September 23 at 12 pm (ET). Learn about the features and benefits of the Maryland Prepaid College Trust and the Maryland College Investment Plan and have your questions answered by a Maryland 529 representative. Registration is free but required to participate.
Massachusetts U.Plan & U.Fund: The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) is hosting a webinar about savings for college on September 15 at 7 pm (ET). MEFA is also releasing a podcast episode, The Importance of Saving for College, on September 17 with Yiming Shuang from Inversant, as well as three new MEFA videos on their college savings plans and college gifting. Families and students looking for additional guidance on how to plan, save, and pay for college can also book one-one-one appointments with MEFA representatives.
MOST – Missouri’s 529 Education Plan: Treasurer Fitzpatrick is partnering with two former State Treasurers (Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt & Commissioner of the Office of Administration Sarah Steelman) to share opportunities for state employees to learn about MOST 529. Additionally, MOST field representatives are providing webinars for state employees, employers, and the general public to help communicate the benefits of saving for education through a 529 plan.
NEST 529 and NEST 529 Advisor – Nebraska’s College Savings Plans: NEST 529 will be announcing the winners of its Summer Fun Photo contest, who will each receive $2,000. NEST 529 will also be releasing the results of its national survey which explores Americans’ behaviors, attitudes, and priorities as they relate to college savings and higher education and will be sharing college savings information various social media platforms. Additionally, the Nebraska Governor issued a proclamation announcing September is College Savings Month.
Nevada’s 529 College Savings Plans: On September 10 and 25, the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office is hosting a Financial Aid and Scholarship Event and a 529 Event via Facebook Live. Both events will feature panelists from various higher education institutions as well as 529 partners who will be able to provide insight and answer important questions from parents, students, and educators.
North Carolina 529 Plan (CFNC): CFNC is providing a series of five 529 webinars to celebrate College Savings Month, tailored for audiences including employers, families, and employees. CFNC will also be sharing materials with employers to help encourage staff to start saving for college.
College SAVE – Bank of North Dakota’s 529 Plan: College SAVE is inviting account owners to participate in the Picture My Pride & Joy campaign. Participants are invited to submit a photo of one of the beneficiaries they are saving for and a sentence on why they are saving. One winner will be randomly selected to receive $529 towards a new or existing College SAVE account.
Ohio’s 529 Plan: Ohio’s 529 Plan is carrying out a Back to School/CSM Campaign and working with Ohio’s Major League Baseball franchises, offering distinct $10,000 College Savings Awards sweepstakes with the Cincinnati Reds, and the Cleveland Indians. On September 13, Ohio’s 529 plan will go live with its annual $10,000 College Savings Awards sweepstakes with the Cincinnati Bengals.
PA 529: The PA 529 College and Career Savings Program is moderating two free webinars in September – A Financial Aid Overview webinar with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and an employer webinar to help PA companies learn about offering PA 529 as a voluntary benefit.
South Carolina Future Scholar: From September 1 through September 25, Future Scholar invites parents to enter their child, age 10 or under, in the “When I Grow Up” Sweepstakes by taking a photo of their child dressed as what they want to be when they grow up, and posting it on their personal Facebook or Instagram account with the hashtag #FutureScholarWhenIGrowUp. Twenty winners (10 from Facebook and 10 from Instagram) will be randomly selected to receive a privately-funded $529 contribution to their child’s Future Scholar account, for a total of $10,580 in scholarship grants provided. Additionally, as part of the State Treasurer’s Office’s ongoing efforts to promote financial literacy on its social media channels, college savings tips will be featured for Financial Literacy Friday throughout September.
TNStars 529 Program: Governor Lee has proclaimed September as ‘College Savings Month’ in Tennessee. Additionally, State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. and the TNStars College Savings 529 Program are giving away three $529 scholarships this month. Tennessee residents age 21 and older can enter the scholarship giveaway online on behalf of a child age 15 or under. Winners will be announced October 1, and scholarship money will be deposited into a TNStars account.
my529 Utah: my529 is running its Make Your Mark contest, sponsored by my529 and the Utah System of Higher Education. Make Your Mark raises awareness about education saving and invites Utah students to exhibit their talents by creating an original bookmark design for a chance to win a college savings scholarship.
WA529: To commemorate College Savings Month and Back to School, Washington 529 is offering people the opportunity to take its College Savings Quiz. Those who score 100% could win one of 5 Amazon Fire HD Tablets.
SMART529 – West Virginia’s Education Savings Solution: The West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office is hosting a Facebook Live event on September 3 to announce the grand prize winner and regional winners of its When I Grow Up essay contest. In addition to money invested in their college savings accounts, contest winners will win $500 cash prizes for their respective schools. Additionally, the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office will be sharing college savings information for adults and engaging printable activities for children on its Facebook and Twitter pages.
The following is a Congressional Resolution officially recognizing September as “College Savings Month”:
Past Congress Recognizes Importance of College Savings
H. CON. RES. 270
Passed the House of Representatives October 15, 2003
Whereas, the people of the United States recognize the challenge and accept the responsibility of obtaining the education and skills that will enable them to successfully compete in the global economy of the 21st century;
Whereas, since 1980 the rate of increase of the cost of postsecondary education has exceeded the rate of increase of inflation, public assistance to students, and family income;
Whereas, the rapidly rising cost of postsecondary education poses a serious threat to the ability of the people of the United States to ensure their and their children’s access to postsecondary education;
Whereas, since 1992 the annual amount of new student loan commitments has increased from $15,000,000,000 to $35,000,000,000, which represents an increasing burden on college graduates to pay for their college education long after that education is completed;
Whereas, it is in the interest of the Nation to ensure that the people of the United States have the opportunity to obtain a postsecondary education and to encourage parents to save for their children’s education;
Whereas, many States have offered tax incentives to encourage their citizens to save for educational expenses;
Whereas, additional Federal tax incentives to encourage the people of the United States to save for educational expenses became effective after December 31, 2001; and
Whereas, the National Association of State Treasurers and the College Savings Plan Network have requested that the Congress designate September as College Savings Month in order to raise public awareness about the need to save for educational expenses:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That the Congress supports the goals and ideals of College Savings Month.
This resolution expired at the end of the 108th Congress.
529 Day (May 29th)
The College Savings Plans Network has been joined by more than 30 states in declaring May 29 “529 Day”. Many activities are held during May to recognize the importance of saving for college with a 529 plan.