Mary Morris, Virginia529 CEO
March 6, 2017

Parents and guardians make many decisions in the best interests of their children. From green vegetables to piano lessons, mothers and fathers want to give their kids the best chance at happiness and success. Rarely do we hear from kids in appreciation for these efforts, which sometimes can cause battles between the generations.

However, when it comes to education savings, like 529 plans, it is a different story and many do step up and say thanks to the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who contributed.

Here are the stories two prepaid tuition 529 plan beneficiaries shared about their experience.

Lauren Lauren_Reed_2

Lauren’s grandfather purchased one year in a prepaid 529 plan for her when she was in the sixth grade. This gift inspired her parents to add additional years for her.

“The entire family was invested both financially and emotionally in securing my future and my education,” she shared. “I will be forever grateful for that.”

Now a college professor with a PhD in special education, Lauren says her family’s investment taught her an important lesson: “The invaluable message [my prepaid 529 plan] sent to me as a child was education is something you prepare for, save for and sacrifice for.”

Sarah is a high-school sophomore who has two years of prepaid 529 tuition. Her mother is close to paying off two additional years.

Sarah appreciates the sacrifice her mom is making and the impact it will have when she starts college. She’s heard stories from people she knows about the difficulty working during college.

“[My prepaid 529] plan will allow me to study and focus more on my classes instead of working a part-time job,” she said.

Sarah is planning to study nursing and wants to work in an emergency room.

Both women are the beneficiaries of a type of 529 plan that allows the purchaser to prepay tuition at a specific group of colleges and universities.

Typically, the account owner or the beneficiary must be a resident of one of the 11 states that sponsors a prepaid plan. Most of these plans are designed for use at a public college in the program state with an option for funds to be used at private and out-of-state schools at a pre-determined valuation. Another option for residents of any state is prepaying tuition through a consortium of private colleges which offers a twelfth plan.

Prepaid tuition programs give families peace of mind that one higher education expense, generally the largest, is funded before the beneficiary is officially a college student.

Learn if a prepaid 529 program is an option for your loved one using CSPN’s 529 Plan Comparison By Feature.

About the author:
Mary Morris is CEO of Virginia529, the largest 529 plan with $60 billion in assets under management as of January 31, 2017. She is chairman of the Federal Initiatives Committee of the College Savings Plans Network, a member of the National Association of State Treasurers Legislative Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the College Savings Foundation.