By Meredith Clement, MEFA                                             Haz clic AQUÍ para ver el blog en español.

Graduation season is upon us, and if you have any high school graduates on your gift list this season, we have a great idea. Give the gift that opens doors to the future by contributing to a graduate’s college savings plan. Whether you’re gifting to your own child or another’s, a contribution of college savings can provide both peace of mind and encouragement for a college-bound student, knowing that a portion of future college costs is covered. Follow our tips below as you give this graduation season.

  • Be creative. Though you’re gifting free money, contributing to a college savings account may not make the biggest splash. Consider pairing your gift with a T-shirt from the college the student is headed to or some fun school supplies.
  • Spread the word. If you’re a parent of a high school graduate, share with other family members how much you and your family would appreciate a gift of college savings, especially if they’re asking for ideas.
  • Set up a gifting page. Some 529 plans offer a customized college gifting page, which can include a picture of the student and a description of their dreams for the future. If you’re the parent, set up a gifting page if it’s available, and then share the page link so that family members and friends can contribute to the student’s 529 account online.
  • Avoid gift tax. If you’re gifting money to a student’s college savings account, know that you can give up to $16,000 per year without incurring gift tax. Married couples can give $32,000.
  • Check with the parents. Though most families would welcome any contribution to a college savings account, check with the student’s parents receiving the gift, just in case. They may have specific instructions on how your contribution is made.

Many families consider saving for college one of their top priorities. Help the families in your life (including your own) to reach their goals by giving the gift of college savings this graduation season.


Meredith Clement is the Managing Editor for MEFA, Massachusetts Education Financing Authority.