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President Realizes Formula for College Success Includes Savings Incentives

Betty Lochner
Chair of the College Savings Plans Network & Director of Washington State’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) Program
January 29, 2015

When I was elected Chair of the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN), never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be debating the value of one of the core benefits and characteristics of 529 plans with the President of the United States. Nonetheless, that is exactly what happened this past week when President Obama announced his plan to repeal the tax benefits associated with 529 college savings plans.

As soon as the President’s proposal was announced as part of his State of the Union address, members of CSPN rallied together like never before to unite in an advocacy effort to defend the value of 529 plans for the more than 12 million American families that own accounts.  Our goal was to remind the President and our elected officials that planning and saving are vital components to ensuring higher education enrollment rates continue to rise in our country and that families receive the support they need in helping their children fulfill their dreams.

Create your own strategy to college planning

Francesca Nelson
Public Affairs Officer - College Savings Plans of Maryland
January 26, 2015

In Maryland, we recently surveyed more than 1,000 families to see how they are preparing for the rising cost of college. Our research showed that 68% of families who are saving for college believe they will pay for all or part of their child’s college education. Of those not saving, 90% still believe that their child will attend a 4-year university. This financial commitment can be daunting, but not if you choose to plan ahead and do the proper research.

One strategy is to have conversations about college with your children when they are young. Talk to them about what they want to be when they grow up, and their interests. You can work with their teachers to find out their strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. You can also look into extra-curricular activities to enhance their skills. Establishing a college culture in your home can make a difference in your child’s college achievement and completion.

President’s College Plan: Well Intentioned with Misguided Funding Strategy

Betty Lochner
Chair of the College Savings Plan Network & Director of Washington State’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) Program
January 22, 2015

During Tuesday night’s State of the Union address President Barack Obama proposed some philosophical changes in the road to higher education, including a strategy that provides free community college for all Americans. The idea of creating greater access to higher education to strengthen our country’s economy, workforce and the number of career opportunities for our citizens is commendable and inspiring.

I think that as Americans, no matter your political affiliation, we can all agree that a better educated citizen-base is essential to helping our country prosper with more engaged, innovative and open-minded people that have the resources to purchase, invest, volunteer and create.

The biggest concern with the President’s plan is that it comes at the expense of one of few tax breaks for middle class families. The President’s proposal calls for the removal of the ability for Americans to use the money earned in their 529 college savings account on a tax-free basis. The rationale behind this plan is that additional income taxes collected from students could be one of the mechanisms for funding the free community college proposal.

From Dream to Reality: Children’s Savings Accounts Build Money and Momentum to Get More Children to College

By Lisa Groen
Senior Writer, Utah Educational Savings Plan
January 19, 2015

More than 50 years ago, when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke the words, “I have a dream,” he contrasted racial injustice with the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equality and opportunity for all. He called for change, including equal access to education. 

As the nation’s college savings plans continue to work to ensure that King’s dream of equal access is fully realized, they can rely on encouraging data that lends understanding to what may help children attain a college education. William Elliott, a researcher on the topic of children’s savings accounts (CSAs), reports that when children have savings accounts in their names, they are more likely to attend college, regardless of their parents’ personal savings and net worth. A child with as little as $1 to $499 in a CSA is 3 times more likely to enroll and 2.5 times more likely to graduate from college.*  This suggests that designating a savings account for a child’s future college expenses, regardless of the amount saved, may be vital to academic attainment—important information for families considering opening a 529 college savings account.

Resolving to Improve

By Jodi Golden
Executive Director, Indiana Education Savings Authority
January 12, 2015

Being a couple of weeks into the New Year, a lot of us are already questioning some of those New Year resolutions we made on January 1.  Unfortunately, a large number of Americans struggle with continuing that healthy diet or active exercise regimen.   These are vitally important to living a quality life and should certainly be a priority.  However, another type of resolution frequently made and broken pertains to financial goals.  Be it creating an emergency fund, paying off debt or saving for your children's college education, we all start out with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, they don't always last.

In the spirit of encouragement, I’ve found a few helpful tips in an article from U.S. News and World Report* that could ultimately help other areas of your financial life; allowing you to then focus on saving for other important goals such as retirement and education.

Saving for College is Easier than Diet & Exercise

Betty Lochner
Chair of the College Savings Plans Network and Director of Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program
January 5, 2015


The new-year is upon us and that means many of us have set resolutions like finding time to exercise more, eat well or accomplish a long-established goal. 

While I see the merit in making resolutions, I’ve never been one to make too many of them. There is one life-changing resolution I did make 15 years ago when I was hired as the Director of the GET program. Believe it or not, my husband and I had not started saving for our children’s college education and I knew if we did not start now we were never going to make it happen. We started small and kept adding to the effort over the years and I am proud to say that both of my kids graduated debt-free! My son recently completed his MBA at the University of Washington and is now a project manager at Microsoft and my daughter followed in her father’s footsteps and is a first grade teacher.

This holiday, I wish you Peace

LaKesha Page
Director of College Savings, TNStars College Savings 529 Program
State of Tennessee Treasury Department

December 22, 2014

While the holiday season adds to my already full to-do list, the festivities of the holiday are truly enhancements to my family’s busy lives filled with work, school, extra- curricular activities, club meetings, church and social affairs.  I eagerly anticipate the holiday season each year- decorating, shopping, wrapping of gifts, volunteering, serving, visiting loved ones and partying, for all are not merely things that I am tasked to do, but rather, I am blessed with the opportunity to undertake them all.  I revel in the peaceful moments where I am able to reflect on why the holiday is important and to understand and appreciate the awesome opportunity that I have to be able to enjoy the holiday with family and friends, find joy in the memories of loved ones, and to help others.

As we near the apex of the holiday season, I wish you peace of mind in knowing the same.  As you reflect on those people and affairs of importance to you and prepare for what is to come, my wish is that you enjoy the holiday season, whether it be in moments when you are surrounded by loved ones or in the tranquil memories of loved ones lost, or in moments of reflection about what makes the holiday special to you and your family. 

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