September Declared "College Savings Month" Across the Country

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The College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) today joined Governors and Treasurers around the nation in declaring September "College Savings Month" to increase awareness among families about the importance of saving for their children's higher education expenses and reducing reliance on debt. CSPN, a leading non-profit advocate for 529 college savings plans, encourages families to examine their approach to college savings this month and consider making a 529 plan, either a college savings plan or a prepaid tuition plan, part of their post high school education savings strategy.

529 college savings plans offer a convenient, tax-advantaged way to plan and pay for college, and with more than 100 plan options available across the country, every family can find a plan that caters to their unique needs and goals.

The College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) today joined Governors and Treasurers around the nation in declaring September "College Savings Month" to increase awareness among families about the importance of saving for their children's higher education expenses and reducing reliance on debt. CSPN, a leading non-profit advocate for 529 college savings plans, encourages families to examine their approach to college savings this month and consider making a 529 plan, either a college savings plan or a prepaid tuition plan, part of their post high school education savings strategy.

"American families work hard to provide their children with the brightest futures possible, which is why it is so important for them to start saving for higher education as early as possible," said Joan Marshall, Chair of CSPN and Executive Director of the College Savings Plans of Maryland. "529 college savings plans offer a convenient, tax-advantaged way to plan and save for college, and with every state offering at least one 529 plan, nearly every family can find a plan to help them meet their needs and goals."

529 plans are designed to give parents, grandparents, friends and others an opportunity to save for college with tax advantages to encourage that saving. For instance, all money grows federal and state income-tax free and all withdrawals used to pay for higher education are exempt from federal income tax. Plans offered by individual states vary by tax benefits, fees, investment options, contribution levels and other features. CSPN's website, http://www.CollegeSavings.org, offers a unique comparison tool that helps families compare plans to determine which is best suited for them.

Regardless of which plan families choose, College Savings Month is a time for families nationwide to consider the value of higher education, and how much a college degree can impact a child's life:

  • According to The College Board, in 2008, median family income for individuals with a bachelor's degree or more was $101,099, compared to $49,414 for those with a high school diploma.
  • A 2010 study by the Center for Social Development found that having savings over a period of years may raise a young person's educational expectations. Higher expectations may lead to increased academic efforts and achievement.
  • The same study also found that students who have funds saved for higher education in their name are seven times more likely to attend college than youth without a dedicated account.

"This September, we encourage families to celebrate College Savings Month by considering opening a 529 plan and starting to save for their child's future education today," said Marshall.

About College Savings Plans Network (CSPN)
College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) is a leading voice for Section 529 College Savings Plans, one of the most popular, convenient and tax-advantaged ways to save for college. CSPN is a leading non-profit advocate for 529 college savings plans affiliated with the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) that brings together state administrators of 529 savings and prepaid plans as well as their private sector partners. Information that families of all income levels can use to make informed saving decisions is available on CSPN's Web site, http://www.CollegeSavings.org.

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Gretchen Steinmiller
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