By Eva Giles, College Savings Program Manager, Finance Authority of Maine

February 7, 2023

Employers are a trusted resource for employees. Company owners or leaders look for trusted partners, such as 529 Plan administrators, for free, accurate, and easy-to-access information to share.

Employees tell us that they look to their employers for:

  • Reminders for important deadlines 
  • Easy, streamlined support to assist with automated contributions and payroll deductions  
  • Details on compensation and benefits, including support for and contributions to employees saving for higher education 
  • Information and resources that support financial wellness

To help employers in your state address these needs, be sure they know and can share the following:

  1. Critical deadlines for incentives and reward programs or tax benefits related to 529 contributions.
  2. How to complete payroll deduction or other automated contributions into existing 529 accounts.
  3. How easy it is for the company to create a benefit by contributing to an employee’s 529 account.
  4. How the company can access print materials or prepared communications to share electronically.
  5. Where to access free financial wellness resources that are available to support their employees.

Your 529 Plan can easily connect with employers in your state through outreach and awareness efforts through in-person and virtual presentations to local Chambers of Commerce, business associations, family-owned business groups, and leveraging existing relationships with hospitals, schools, community organizations, and municipalities- they are employers too! Many of those connections can also be made by regional human resources associations and attendance at their statewide conference. What’s in it for the employer? 529 Programs make information free and easily accessible for them to use at company-wide benefit fairs, on websites, and email communications to their employees. 529 Plans help promote free higher education savings webinars to their employees and make a host of financial wellness tools and resources available.

What does a successful employer connection look like?

529 programs specifically track the metrics that reflect activity and help to inform the action all programs can take. For example, below is what The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) looks at:

  • Engagement with regional College Savings Counselors- tracking participation at events as well as employee interactions
  • New 529 accounts opened
  • Increased automated contributions and payroll deduction take rates
  • Requests for enrollment support and assistance
  • Participation in monthly webinar series
  • Questions received from employers or the employees they have referred
  • Engagement through surveys
  • Web analytics for targeted web landing pages

By working with employer partners, 529 programs can understand the real benefits of helping employees reduce financial stress, gain access to accurate information, know the resources available to make informed choices, and act early. We know we can support financial capability and a robust and skilled workforce. 

About the author:

Eva Giles is the College Savings Program Manager for the Finance Authority of Maine, administrator of NextGen 529®.  NextGen 529 is Maine’s section 529 plan which many families use to save for higher education. Outside of work, Eva and her family spend time hiking and enjoying the natural beauty Maine has to offer.