By Hon. Michael L. Fitzgerald
State Treasurer,State of Iowa
August 29, 2013

College planning may be the last thing on the minds of families already busy juggling the demands of work and home. However, with the cost of higher education rising faster than inflation, nearly every family will face the question of how to pay for it when the time comes. The answer is quite simple – start saving today. By starting early, saving regularly and making smart investment choices, families can make their savings work for them.

Join CSPN in celebrating College Savings Month throughout the month of September and get a jump start on helping your loved ones start saving for college. College Savings Month is a national effort to bring attention to the fact that saving for college is one of the most significant actions families can take for their children’s future. The College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) has released an interactive map to raise awareness about each state’s planned activities. To see what activities and events are taking place in your state, visit this link.

While any form of saving is better than none, there are extra benefits to using a 529 plan. Contributions and earnings in a 529 plan grow free of federal income taxes and are tax-free when used to pay for qualified higher education expenses at any eligible college, university, community college or accredited technical training school in the US or abroad.* Additionally, thirty-four states and the District of Columbia offer state tax deductions or credits for contributing to certain 529 plans.

For more information about 529 plans visit CSPN’s website at CSPN’s website offers a variety of tools and resources for families as they determine the best way to save for college; such as the interactive map detailing what each state has planned for College Savings Month and a unique tool that helps families compare 529 plans by state. For more information about CSPN visit and be sure to join the conversation on Twitter by following #CollegeSavingsMonth. Like our Facebook page for a chance to win one of ten $529 scholarships!

*Earnings on non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax, as well as state income taxes. The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.

About the Author:
Iowa State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald is the Chair of the College Savings Plans Network and the administrator of Iowa’s 529 College Savings Programs including College Savings Iowa, with more than $3.4 billion invested.