This Holiday Season, Think Outside the Toy Box; Give the Gift of Education

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The Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) launched a new Gift Program.

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The Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP), Utah’s official 529 college savings program, launched a new Gift Program at gift.uesp.org in time for the holidays. UESP account owners can invite family and friends to contribute to their UESP college savings accounts as an alternative to giving traditional gifts. The UESP Gift Program is free and simple to use.

“Families are often asked to share meaningful gift ideas for their children, and contributing to college savings is the perfect gift for many children,” says Lynne Ward, UESP executive director. “UESP’s new Gift Program is a convenient way for loved ones to give children a gift of lasting significance.”

How the UESP Gift Program Works

To invite family and friends to contribute a gift to a UESP college savings account, a UESP account owner first enrolls in the UESP Gift Program by going to Account Access at uesp.org and selecting Gift Program. A link to a personal gift page and a unique gift code appear on the screen as soon as an account has been activated for gift giving. An account owner then may share this unique link with family and friends by email or on Facebook or Twitter.

To give a gift, family and friends click on the link to the personal gift page an account owner shares with them that includes the unique gift code. They may contribute to the account online, or they may mail a check along with a gift contribution coupon they print from the page that includes the code. Use of the unique gift code ensures proper and streamlined deposit of gift contributions. UESP account numbers remain confidential in the process. UESP notifies the account owner by email when a gift contribution posts to the account.

Anyone can contribute to a UESP account. However, only the account owner can change the account’s investment option or withdraw money from the account. In addition, the account owner alone can claim any tax benefits related to the account, regardless of who contributed. Utah account owners are eligible for a 5 percent Utah state income tax credit per qualified beneficiary on contributions up to $1,860, (a maximum tax credit of $93) for a single filer, and up to $3,720 ($186) for joint filers in 2014.

About UESP

UESP, Utah’s official nonprofit 529 college savings plan, manages more than $7.6 billion in assets and is highly ranked by Morningstar Inc., Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, Money magazine, CBS MoneyWatch.com, and consumer expert Clark Howard for its low fees and industry innovations such as its customized allocation investment options.

It’s free to open an account, and UESP requires no minimum deposit or account balance, so families can save a little or a lot, according to their own schedules. UESP’s user-friendly website, uesp.org, makes it easy to open, manage, and contribute to an account online.

Earnings on UESP accounts grow tax deferred, and withdrawals are free from federal and Utah state income taxes when used for qualified higher education expenses such as tuition, fees, certain room-and-board costs, and required books and supplies at any eligible educational institution that participates in federal financial aid programs for students, not just at institutions in Utah.

To learn more about the Utah Educational Savings Plan Gift Program, visit gift.uesp.org, call UESP toll-free at 800.418.2551, or email info@uesp.org.

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The Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) is a Section 529 plan administered and managed by the Utah State Board of Regents and the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA).

Read the Program Description for more information and consider all investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. Call 800.418.2551 for a copy of the Program Description or visit uesp.org.

Gifts are not revocable. UESP accounts are controlled by the account owner, who may change the beneficiary, withdraw or transfer funds, or change the account owner as set forth in the Program Description. Contributions to an account by a third party may qualify a Utah resident account owner for a Utah state income tax credit. Under Utah tax law, the giver may not receive a tax credit. Donations may have gift tax consequences. Please consult a tax advisor.

Investments in UESP are not guaranteed by UESP, the Utah State Board of Regents, the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA), or any other state or federal agency.

However, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance is provided for the FDIC-insured accounts. Please read the Program Description to learn about the FDIC-insured accounts. Your investment could lose value.

Non-Utah taxpayers and residents: You should determine whether the state in which you or your beneficiary pays taxes or lives offers a 529 plan that provides state tax or other benefits not otherwise available to you by investing in UESP. You should consider such state tax treatment and benefits, if any, before investing in UESP.

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Diane Johnson
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