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It's 5/29, Are you Saving for College?

Patricia Roberts
Managing Director, AllianceBernstein L.P. & Chair, College Savings Plans Network Corporate Affiliates Committee
May 26, 2015 

Across the country as the clock strikes 5:29 a.m. and p.m. each day, if you're listening to the radio, you may hear a Public Service Announcement that begins by posing a timely and important question: "It's 5:29, are you saving for college?" In an informative and encouraging manner, the PSA, playing on hundreds of stations across the country, seeks to educate listeners about what 529 college savings plans are and how these plans can play a valuable role in helping families prepare for higher education expenses.

With another creative "529" connection quickly approaching, (Friday, May 29 - National 529 College Savings Day), awareness will surely be raised in countless additional ways across our great nation. The College Savings Plans Network (CSPN), encourages states to utilize 5/29 and the week leading up to it as an appropriate time to conduct focused 529 plan outreach.

National Conference Takeaway: Innovation Will Drive Savings Success

Betty Lochner
CSPN Chair and Director of Washington’s GET Program 
May 20, 2015

Michelangelo once said "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high
and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." To me this quote defines my experience last week at CSPN's annual conference. As 529 professionals we were inspired to continue to discover, share and create new ways to enhance the services and benefits of our college savings plans for American families. 

One of the key topics was the recently enacted federal ABLE Act, which now provides people with disabilities the opportunity to save for future housing, education, training and health care expenses in a tax-free way, much like 529 plans. For the first time since this legislation passed, leading experts from the 529 and disability communities gathered to talk about how to implement these plans on a statewide level in a timely, efficient and effective manner. The generative conversations that took place established a strong working relationship so that the needs, hopes and desires of all interested parties are met. 

Our First Teachers: Moms and Education

A Mother’s Day Reflection

Patricia Roberts
Managing Director, AllianceBernstein L.P. and
Chair, College Savings Plans Network Corporate Affiliates
May 8, 2015

As I shared in a post at this time last year, the topic of education always seems to surface when I speak with adult children of all ages about the admiration they have for their mothers. I am reminded of all that we learn from our very first teachers and am inspired by the critical role women play in both the education and the educational pursuits of those they love.

As an example among so very many that have warmed my heart, I will always remember the incredibly moving manner in which Paula Sammons, program officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, spoke of her mother in the opening plenary at last year’s CFED Children's Savings Conference in Washington, D.C., just prior to Mother’s Day.  An immigrant from Japan finding herself divorced with three small children, Paula’s mom was determined to provide the best life she could for her family. Paula shared her discovery as a teen that her mother had been making weekly bank deposits of $1-2 a week for each of her children and thereby creating a small but valuable nest egg for college. She remarked, “I am so grateful to my mother for the incredible sacrifices and commitment she had to our future and our dreams all those years, and to all the other parents who are doing the same for their children, even when they have so little.”  The nods of affirmation and the roaring applause Paula received from the hundreds of attendees was clearly not just for her, but for her mother as well, and the countless others like her around the globe and the children they teach and inspire.

Get your savings in full swing this spring

Lucas Minor
GET Marketing & Communications Manager
May 4, 2015

I always welcome the start of baseball season, as it’s a great reminder that good things are in store for the months ahead. It’s a chance for renewed optimism as we cheer on the home team (Go Mariners!) and hope that maybe ‘this’ will finally be their year. And accordingly, Mother Nature is showing signs of bright life: the sun starts showing itself again, flowers are in bloom and everything is turning green again! But what do baseball and the change in seasons have to do with college savings? 

Just as the start of the season involves a steep learning curve for a team, getting your college savings started is not always easy right out of the gate. You’ll experience some growing pains and it will take time to get a consistent game plan established. Despite these early road bumps, remember that this time of year is also the perfect opportunity for a fresh start – a chance to try out a new approach. If you stay committed and keep working hard, saving will continue to come more naturally, and your college savings plan will begin to blossom. 

Statement from College Savings Plans Network on Senate Finance Committee Passage of College Savings Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 30, 2015) – Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee considered S. 335, the companion bill to H.R. 529, which was passed with a bipartisan vote by the House of Representatives in February. Introduced by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Bob Casey (D-PA), the Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill 26-0.

The legislation will make 529 plans more flexible by making computers an eligible education expense; allowing the redeposit of college refunds without negative tax implications in certain circumstances and updating outdated accounting rules.

Betty Lochner, chair of the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN)—the nation’s leading objective source of information about Section 529 College Savings Plans and Prepaid Tuition Plans—issued the following statement:


Mary G. Morris
CEO, Virginia529 College Savings Plan

April 27, 2015
As college acceptance day approaches for high school seniors,  I have been reading Frank Bruni’s new book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, about the “college admissions mania” and thinking about the admissions process. 

Soon-to-be high school graduates – this is for you.  If college is not in your immediate future, stay open to opportunities in the future and know that learning takes many shapes and forms  throughout our lives. 

For those heading straight to some form of higher education – congratulations! As you consider your options this month, remember that where you go does not define you now and it will not control your future. If that perfect  school fails to recognize that the two of you are meant for each other, please don’t think you have failed to measure up or that you must “settle” for another school.  I can almost guarantee that when you look back, it will have turned out to be for the best.

Spring cleaning

By Jim DiUlio
Director of Wisconsin’s 529 College Savings Program
April 20, 2015

A sure sign of spring from my youth was taking down the heavy wooden storm windows and putting up the screens at my grandmother’s house. She was traditional, insisting on

vinegar and hot water as the only formula to get the glass sparkling clean. It was the same routine every year—the windows, followed by scrubbing the porch, then raking around the flower beds.

Your financial household could also benefit from the spring cleaning routine, so here are some things to review every year.  

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