By: Hon. Young Boozer
State Treasurer of Alabama & 2016 chair of the College Savings Plans Network

Here we are on January 4, 2016. I wish each of you a Happy New Year! 2016 has great promise and great prospects for us and our students. There is nothing quite as exhilarating as the fresh start one has with a new year.

CSPN has new leadership. I am the new Chair of the College Savings Plans Network, a role in which Betty Lochner so ably served for two years. We welcome new officers to the network as well.  Jim DiUlio is the new Vice Chair and Kathleen McGrath is the new Treasurer. New to the board are Rachel Biar of Nebraska, Hon. Kelly Mitchell of Indiana and Kevin Thompson of Florida. And although not new, we welcome back the “old” guard of the board for another year. Thank you all, very much.

As we enter the new year we have good news for college savers. CSPN has been continuously working to improve the programs we offer. Three items that have been on our wish list were the following. First, we needed to allow computers to become a qualified expense for 529 account funds. Second, we needed to remove all distribution aggregation requirements eliminating an unnecessary paperwork burden for 529 plan administrators. Third, we needed to permit the re-deposit of refunds from colleges without taxes or penalties, provided that it occurs within 60 days of the student withdrawing from the college.

We were able to fulfill those items on the wish list when Congress gave final approval to legislation that made these important enhancements to 529 college savings plans. The three provisions, which were contained in H.R. 529 and S. 335, were included as part of a Congressional proposal to restore expired tax provisions.

These three items are now important new features for 529 plans.

It is a new year with new faces and new plan provisions, nevertheless we have the same time-tested goal. That goal is to provide the best college savings plans possible to our customers. There is nothing new about that.

Happy New Year!

About the author:
Young Boozer is the State Treasurer of Alabama and 2016 chair of the College Savings Plans Network.