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Tips for Surviving the First Year of College

By Ryan Betz
Associate Director, Marketing & Communications
Washington's Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program
Aug. 18, 2014

Right now, thousands of recent high school graduates across our state are gearing up to leave for college in just a few short weeks. The questions that come with leaving for college can be a bit unnerving so I thought I would share some advice and tips for surviving the first year and making the most of your time on campus.


Sleep Better When You Have a Plan

By Bonnie Carroll
Marketing Director, Education Trust of Alaska
August 11, 2014


What would you do if your newborn tried to make this deal with you? Would you be able to find the time and funds to open a college savings account? I’m pretty sure even the most cash poor, sleep deprived parent would manage to open a 529 account if it meant a good night’s sleep.  Many parents post pone saving because they feel they can’t find the time and they don’t have the funds.  But the truth is, it doesn’t take much of either to get started and infancy is the best time to begin. 

Helping families save for college has been very rewarding, especially recently as I’ve begun my own journey as a parent. I work every day to promote saving for college to the residents of my state while I myself am also trying to save for my son and daughter’s college expenses. One thing I’ve observed over and over in the past 15 years is that saving for college gives parents a sense of pride and confidence because they’re doing something great for their kids.

Reaping the Rewards of Saving in a 529 Plan

By Joan Marshall
Executive Director, College Savings Plans of Maryland
August 4, 2014


In running two 529 plans for our state, this time of year is always busy, yet rewarding, as we help thousands of account holders pay for qualified expenses on their beneficiaries’ college bills for the fall semester. In our office, we directly manage our 529 prepaid tuition program, so I really enjoy seeing the checks that we produce on a daily basis for thousands of students who are getting ready for college life in Maryland or across the country, many of them for the first time.

How do You Decide When to Use the Money in Your 529 Plan?

This spring, we talked to hundreds of college-bound seniors and their families about getting ready to pay for college.  So many families have found that they didn’t receive as much financial aid as they had been hoping for, and many are now wishing that they had started saving sooner and saved more.  And many of those families who do have savings set aside are uncertain about how and when to use their savings for college costs.  Someone at a recent MEFA Paying for College seminar asked me: How do we decide when to use the money we have saved in the 529 plan? Should we spend it all up front, or divide it over four years and borrow at the same time?

Are You a 529 Newbie? 3 Free CSPN Resources to Help You Find the Right Plan

By Terry Crockett
Marketing Analyst, Virginia529 College Savings Plan

July 28, 2014

Finding the right college savings plan can often be tricky.  Does your state offer tax advantages to residents? What about a prepaid tuition plan? We won’t even get started on advisor sold plans vs. direct sold plans.
Let’s face it--the average consumer just doesn’t have the industry knowledge to make a well informed decision when opening a 529 account.

Summer Enrichment: Money Matters provide Teachable Moments

By Patricia Roberts, Managing Director
AllianceBernstein L.P.
July 21, 2014

The welcomed and relaxed pace of summer provides a unique opportunity for us to catch our breath and address issues (big and small) that have been pushed to the side during the hustle and bustle of the school year. Even more importantly, with a bit less on our collective plates, the summer season also presents the opportunity to connect in meaningful ways with our families and particularly, with the children in our lives.

With formal learning in the rear-view mirror for a while, opportunities abound for school age children to explore and learn outside the classroom, in more relaxed circumstances. When we think about the experiences we'd like to have with the children in our lives this summer, it’s also good to think about the knowledge we'd like to impart.

School's out for Summer! What's on Your Horizon?

By Dan Payne, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Washington's Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program
July 14, 2014


Summer’s finally here, and today in the northwest, it actually feels like it. As I’m writing, the forecast for the day is a scorching 92 degrees… in Washington State! With more than a handful of beautiful days behind us already, this summer seems to be shaping up nicely.

Opportunity is in the air. You can smell the potential in the fresh bloom of Washington flora and you can taste the anticipation of what’s on the horizon. One of the best aspects of summer is that it marks an end as well as a new beginning. For some, it’s the advancement to the next year of school, ripe with the excitement of new challenges to overcome. For others, it’s diving into college, exploring the world of opportunity at their fingertips. And for others, it’s the first leap into the world after college, and the beginning of the life that they’ve prepared for. For everyone, limitations are dependent on determination and imagination.

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