529 plans across the country are celebrating 529 Day this month with new 529 college savings plans incentives, virtual events, and social media activities. Despite current market volatility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CSPN continues to promote staying the course, and continuing investments in college savings plans for those who are in the position to do so.
Social distancing recommendations have forced many states to change their 529 Day activities to virtual events, but many plans have created fun and innovative ways to continue to highlight the importance of saving for college.
529 plans make it easy and affordable to plan ahead for the cost of higher education at colleges & universities, technical & community colleges, trade schools and many other post-secondary education programs. Check out the opportunities and events available below.
While you don’t have to save with your home state’s plan, it may offer tax advantages not available from another. Find your local program by going to the My State’s Plan page on this site.
Alabama: For the ninth consecutive year, CollegeCounts, Alabama’s 529 Plan, will be giving away 29 contributions of $529 to Alabama families with an account and who have a baby born between May 29, 2019 and May 29, 2020.
Alaska: Alaska 529 is partnering with an Anchorage-based ice cream shop and a Fairbanks-based ice cream truck to give out free ice cream treats. Additionally, they will be giving away t-shirts to up to 1,000 kids who share a short video telling/showing what they want to be when they grow up.
Arizona is hosting a social media contest to celebrate graduations and grade level promotions for National College Savings Day (529 Day). https://www.facebook.com/AZCollegeSavings/ Activity: Post your favorite photo of your family’s “virtual celebration” of this milestone occasion with the hashtags #AZGradcelebration #AZ529BigDreams by 5/24/20. We’ll be randomly selecting one photo from each milestone category to win $529 towards an Arizona 529 college savings account (AZ529.gov). Winners will be announced on 5/29/2020. Examples: 2020 HS graduates, kindergarten promotion to 1st, 5th or 6th grade promotion to Middle School/Junior High, and Middle School/Jr High promotion to High School
BlackRock CollegeAdvantage 529: The BlackRock sales desk will be conducting a call out campaign to 3000 financial advisors to discuss the benefits of 529. The firm will also be participating in a webinar series with advisors to do the same.
California: ScholarShare 529 is celebrating National 529 College Savings Day with a $50 match for families who open a new ScholarShare 529 account between May 26 and May 31, 2020 with $50 or more and sign up for a recurring contribution of $25 or more per month for six consecutive months.
Delaware: State Treasurer Colleen Davis recorded a PSA for 529 Day
and the DE529 – Delaware College Investment Plan will be leveraging their successful baby campaign from earlier this year to drive new account openings.
Georgia: Path2College 529 Plan will be partnering with 2 hospitals in Georgia to award the first babies born at those hospitals on May 29th a $1,529 contribution to their Path2College 529 Account to celebrate 529 Day this year.
Gift of College 5/29 Week Sweepstakes: To educate individuals about saving for college with 529 plans and the ease with which friends, family and employers can lend a hand, Gift of College will host on the Gift of College Facebook page a fun contest for the opportunity to win three $529 Gift of College gift cards from Tuesday, May 26th through Friday May, 29th (5/29 Day) which can be redeemed into a 529 college savings account of the winner’s choice.
In connection with 5/29 Day, Gift of College announced the results of its ‘Paying for College Survey.’ The national survey covered an array of topics from student loan debt to saving for college and the impact of employers’ support of educational expenses. Among the survey findings: 75% of Americans rank 529 college savings & student loan benefits among the top three desired employer benefits overall, and 62% of Americans who face student loan debt feel overwhelmed by it.
Idaho: From May1-29, IDeal– Idaho’s College Savings Program- will provide a matching contribution of $25 for the first 200 new accounts opened for beneficiaries 0-5 with an initial contribution of at least $25 by June 30th.
Illinois will be celebrating the National College Savings Day all week long leading up to 529 day with Bright Start success stories from various families across Illinois. These stories will be shared through social media on Facebook and Twitter.
Indiana: Indiana will host its CollegeChoice 529‘s Faces of 529 Day Contest. Indiana residents can enter to win a $529 CollegeChoice 529 account deposit by submitting a picture of who they are saving for. Ads for the contest feature Pete the Planner and will run state-wide.
Iowa: College Savings Iowa is hosting a month-long contribution giveaway to celebrate 529 Day. Between May 1 and May 31, Iowans with a child or grandchild under the age of 18 can visit Iowa529Contest.com to register for a chance to win one of five $529 College Savings Iowa contributions.
Ivy InvestEd 529 Plan will promote “529 Day” to the public via our social platforms, driving traffic back to the Ivy InvestEd public facing landing page. We will coordinate with AZ529 to retweet/share our posts to increase the reach of these posts. We will also have advisor targeted social posts and promote the plan via our advisor facing monthly eNewsletter series – these efforts will link back to the Ivy InvestEd plan overview web page.
Kansas is raising awareness of the Learning Quest 529 plan by holding a contest, 529 Reasons to Love a 529. Contest entrants will include a statement about why or who they are investing for education. The contest runs 5/18 to 5/31 with the chance to win $1,529 towards a new or existing Learning Quest account.
Louisiana: The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance is celebrating 529 DAY with a series of social media activities during the week of May 25 -29. The activities will focus on saving for college and the importance of a college education. Participants will have their names entered into a drawing to win $529 that will be deposited into a START account of their choice. The winner will be announced June 1. Information about the campaign will be shared starting the week of May 11.
Maryland: Maryland 529 has partnered with Port Discovery Children’s Museum to offer one lucky child $529 towards a new or existing Maryland College Investment Plan account plus a Family Membership to Port Discovery through the “Unlock Your Future” sweepstakes. Participants draw a picture or take a photo that shows what they dream of being when they grow up and complete the online entry form by 5/31.
Massachusetts: MEFA is planning a number of dedicated activities focused on promoting the benefits of 529 and 529A plans. To promote 529 college savings plans, MEFA will host live virtual events, including a Twitter Chat and a Facebook Live, create new online written content and offer guidance via social media, including posts focused on key aspects of 529 college savings accounts. To promote 529A plans and increase awareness, MEFA will host a live webinar, share video content, and publish a blog post, all focused on the key details and benefits of ABLE accounts.
Michigan: Michigan Education Trust (MET) is planning to host a virtual 529 Day Panel Discussion on 5/28, with a recorded version available on 5/29. In addition, they are offering $100 match for MET contracts purchased on 5/28 & 5/29. Additionally, iHeart Media, West Michigan (WOOD Radio) is going to do a “1st Annual Scholarship for Excellence” essay contest. Minimum 250 word, maximum 1,000 word essays may be submitted May 29 though June 19. Prize to be awarded is a 2-year MET Community College Contract. Sponsored by WOOD Radio, MET and United Bank.
Missouri: MOST MO Money Sweepstakes. Register for a chance to win up to $5,029 in a MOST account – Missouri’s 529 Education Plan. Three drawings will take place: one on May 15th, one on May 29th, and a final drawing on June 4th.
Montana: Achieve Montana is partnering with local media sites with statewide coverage to push out content about recent plan improvements and to generate awareness of 529 Day. The tactics include a native content article on newspaper websites, mobile and display banner ads, native ads, and an HTML email to an opt-in subscriber list.
Morgan Stanley’s campaign kicks off in mid-May and runs through June during graduation season. This year’s campaign recognizes current challenging times, while emphasizing the importance of incorporating a 529 plan into one’s long-term financial plan. It is a multi-channel campaign consisting of a new article on morganstanley.com, a digitial display on our Headquarters building in Times Square, and a social media campaign on our Firm accounts as well as content available for our 15.5K Financial Advisors to share with their networks and on their websites. Our Financial Advisors, along with their families, will be encouraged to wear college gear on May 29th and share via social. Financial Advisors will also be equipped with an email they can use for outreach to clients.
Nebraska: The NEST 529 Direct and Advisor plan is promoting a “new account bonus” starting May 26. The first 200 new accounts for beneficiaries 8 and under opened with the promo code “bonus” and funded with $100 will receive a $100 bonus into the new account.
Nevada: Nevada will now have a virtual day of activities for families in Nevada. They will be offering webinars and live events via social media with the goal of educating families on 529 Plans and teaching them how to plan, save and pay for post-secondary education i Nevada.
New York: NY’s 529 College Savings Program campaign includes digital and social media content, employer webinars, and public information efforts. The Advisor Program emphasizes a “Mission Tuition” theme and will focus on long term vision through challenging times. Online videos from financial experts will be posted on the program website for financial advisors and both current and prospective account owners.
North Carolina: The NC 529 Plan is giving away $5,529 to one lucky winner in the “Dream Big” 5/29 Day Drawing. Participants receive entries for each contribution to their NC 529 Account during the month of May and receive double entries for new accounts and for initiating a new (or increasing an existing) recurring contribution.
North Dakota: College SAVE is once again partnering with KX-Net television from May 8-29 on all of their platforms, including all of their live news telecasts and social media news postings to give away 5- $529 College SAVE scholarships to new or existing account holders.
Ohio’s 529 Plan originally had a whole series of events lined up on and around 529 Day, from gameday events with the Dayton Dragons and sponsorship of the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund’s annual Redlegs Run, to sponsorship of summer reading programs with library systems around the state and sponsorship of a summer reading series with a local Columbus movie theater. As circumstances shifted, Ohio’s 529 Plan has shifted our outeach to a virtual footing. Our school and student programs with the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation and the Dayton Dragons have been extended into the summer, and our 30th Anniversary Sweepstakes has continues through May 31. In addition, Ohio’s 529 Plan is sponsoring the May 18 SavingforCollege webinar and, we will are partnering with BlackRock for a webinar on May 28. Ohio’s 529 Plan will also be in market with our Grad(ish) ad campaign, with a strong emphasis on 529 Day.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan (OCSP) is celebrating 529 Day by offering $50 when a new OCSP account is opened with $50 or more and a recurring contribution.
Pennsylvania: PA 529 is developing a page of virtual resources for families (including national 529 campaign Daniel Tiger coloring sheets) and its $529 contest and will invite families to visit via the website and email. PA State Treasury will also host a 529 Day Twitter chat with its new partners at Fund My Future, who have teamed with PA 529 to promote a statewide savings incentive.
Rhode Island: CollegeBound Saver will be holding a webinar on “529 Day” to offer the first 10 attendees that open a CollegeBound Saver account a $529 contribution. All other attendees will receive a $100 contribution if they enroll within 60 days from the date of the webinar. Additionally, they will be offering a $529 contribution to a CollegeBound Saver account on behalf of any baby born to Rhode Island residents on May 29, 2020.
South Carolina: In its eighth consecutive year of the PalmettoBaby program, South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan is offering all babies born on May 29th a $529 contribution when their parents open a Future Scholar account. The program has partnered with hospitals across the state to deliver a Future Scholar SWAG bag and PalmettoBaby information to all moms in the maternity ward on May 29th.
Tennessee: TNStars College Savings 529 Program will share a myriad of pictures of Tennessee children that they have received from Tennessee families who have also provided their reasons for why saving for college is important. During the month of May, these pictures and images will be shared on social media platforms and through prospective client and existing client newsletters.
Texas: Texas will publicize 529 Day by use of social media, a press release, and emails to current account owners with electronic brochures attached. Program managers will be sending branded promotional items to financial advisors and broker dealers to publicize and celebrate 529 Day. Grassroots staff will do virtual outreach events during the month of May.
Utah: Utah residents may earn up to $40 matching funds by opening a new account and maintaining contributions May 1-31, 2020
Vermont: The VT 529 savings plan and VSAC will provide some much needed graduation fanfare for the VT high school graduates of the Class of 2020 with a “have takeout on us” promotion including weekly drawings through June 26. Five winners every week will each receive $50 of tasty takeout from their favorite local restaurant or food business plus each get a $50 VSAC Gift of College card. Every VT high school grad of 2020 who posts a photo using the #VSACDelivers hashtag and tags @802VSAC qualifies for the grand drawing for $529 from VHEIP to be held by June 30, 2020.
Virginia: A webinar series is being developed for May 18 – May 29 on a variety of educational topics including: apprenticeships, financial aid, investment options, disability savings with ABLEnow, and basic 529 knowledge. One webinar attendee at each session will win a $529 account. Event will culminate with a session on May 29th with CEO Mary Morris and Andrea Feinstein discussing the future of Higher Education.
West Virginia: SMART529, West Virginia’s Education Savings Solution, will host a Facebook LIVE event on Friday, May 29, 2020 to celebrate 529 Day and announce the regional winners of its 13th annual “When I Grow Up” essay contest. Join them at 10 a.m. May 29 on the WVTreasury Facebook page for this exciting announcement and learn more about West Virginia’s SMART529 program.
Wisconsin: Edvest is celebrating National 529 Day by offering $50 when a new Edvest account is opened with $50 and a recurring contribution. Full details available at www.edvest.com/529Day. Edvest is also kicking off a new College Savings Made Simple webinar this May. Register at www.edvest.com
Real Savers / Real Stories
In 2016, for the 20th Anniversary of Internal Revenue Code 529, CSPN released a series of testimonial videos telling the stories of Real Savers who used 529 plans to achieve their dreams of higher education. Check out their stories below.