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Lower Prices: Florida Prepaid Plan

By Kevin Thompson
Executive Director, Florida Prepaid College Board
October 20, 2014
Halloween is looming, and families across the country are investing in new costumes for their young superheroes, princesses and vampires. As scary as the tab for those Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat candy can be, it’s not nearly as jarring as the price tag might be on their college education.
The cost of a state four-year school rose to $18,391a year, on average, or 3.2 percent more than the year before, according to a recent College Board report. And one year at an average private college last year cost nearly $41,000 for tuition, fees, room and board—3.7 percent more than the prior year.

Fall: A Season of Change

By Jodi Golden
Executive Director, Indiana Education Savings Authority
October 13, 2014

As many families across the country are entering their children’s fall break from school, it’s a great time to reflect on the first few weeks of school. While you’re enjoying the leaf piles and making s’mores around the campfire, take time to ask your kids about areas in school they are enjoying, subjects they may need an extra boost in, and the goals they have set for themselves when they return.

Encouraging your children to set goals early is a powerful way to motivate them and help them envision their future becoming a reality. How is their progress thus far? Are their grades where they want them to be? Are they where you, as a parent, would like them to be? What actions can be taken to assist them in achieving that A+ or that 7:00 minute mile? 

Take the Scare Out of Paying For College: Saving vs. Borrowing Can Have a Fiendish Impact!

By Lauren Shipley
Public relations and marketing manager, College Savings Plans of Maryland
October 6, 2014

I hear one frightening theme as I travel in October: “I have been meaning to start a 529 plan for a while.”  I believe many families understand the need to save for college, but often misunderstand the true benefit of saving.

It may sound bewitching, but each family has the power to cut their child’s future college costs in half. The power lies in saving now versus borrowing later.  To cover $25,000 in college costs, a family could put away $92 a month into a 529 plan for 15 years—a total investment of $17,000.1 A family choosing to borrow the $25,000 instead would have to repay roughly $35,000 (or approximately $300 a month over the next ten years).2 Their total debt would be double the amount spent by the family who saved. Ghoulish, right?!

The One: Finding and Affording Your Top Choice School

By Lael Oldmixon, Education Trust of Alaska
Sept. 29, 2014

During the college search process, many parents and their college-ready young adults pile into the trusty family wagon and drive from school to school comparing campuses for the right fit. You know the right fit…it’s the right program of study, the perfect location, or just that magical feeling in the pit of the tummy that says this college is “THE ONE.” 

There are a few minor imperfections that you may or may not overlook during the courtship with “the one,” but one thing doesn’t escape any parents’ attention: the sticker price. There are two things to know about the sticker price at many colleges and universities. First, the sticker price should never get in the way of applying for the dream school. And second, many colleges are open to negotiation. Financial aid may be leveraged to reduce the sticker price and make the final price much more attractive to future students.  

And That's a Wrap to College Savings Month!

By Betty Lochner
Chair of the College Savings Plans Network and director of Washington's Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program
September 25, 2014

Well it’s been another eventful and all-together successful College Savings Month!

In case you missed it, throughout the month of September, eight-year-old CSPN correspondent Charlie Davenport was busy investigating the inner-workings of the 529 world in a four-part series titled “College Savings Uncovered.” 

In this fine piece of hard-hitting investigative journalism, Charlie set out on a quest to track down CSPN Chair Betty Lochner to get his questions about 529 plans answered. Relying on determination, wit and just a touch of good old-fashioned charm, Charlie persevered to the end and was rewarded with a wealth of information about what 529 plans are, how they work, and the benefit they provide to families. 

Below are links to all four videos in the series. We hope you enjoy the show and learn a thing or two in the process:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

About the Author:
Betty Lochner is the Director of Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. Under her leadership, the GET program has grown from 7,900 to over 153,000 accounts, with a fund valued at over $2.55 billion. Washington is unique in that their only 529 plan offered is a prepaid tuition plan. Lochner currently serves as Chair of the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN).

College Savings Discussed During NAST Annual Conference

By Alabama State Treasurer Young Boozer
September 23, 2014

From September 6-10, the NAST* Annual Conference was held at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. It was my first visit there and I know exactly why they call it the Grand Hotel. It is massive, impressive and unique. The weather was spectacular while we were there. Even though it may be a bit difficult to travel to the island, the entire experience is well worth the effort.

The conference enjoyed a good turnout of members, affiliates and guests. Approximately 20 state treasurers were in attendance. I am proud to say that all but one of our CSPN treasurers were there. Participating in the event were Treasurers Michael Fitzgerald (Iowa), Ron Estes (Kansas), Lynn Fitch (Mississippi), John Perdue (West Virginia) and I. 

Americans Continue to Show Their Resolve to Save for College

By: Betty Lochner
Chair of the College Savings Plans Network & Director of Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) Program
Sept. 9, 2014 

Education is the key to unlocking the door to opportunity. Throughout the past several years, new research continues to provide supportive evidence that a college degree not only increases the economic earning power of both individuals and our national economy, but it is also proven to contribute to improved health, homeownership, voting rates, community volunteerism and other social benefits.  While there is no doubt the cost of a college education has increased dramatically in the past two decades, Americans continue to display their growing value of a college degree by saving more of their hard-earned dollars for the future higher education expenses of their children. 

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