LAWTON, OK (KSWO) – A popular college tuition savings plan is celebrating 20 years in operation, and as a result, they're offering a financial incentive to current and future customers.
The 529 College Savings Plan is having a nationwide drawing, where the winner will get $529 deposited to their account. Anyone who signs up for a new account, or already has a college savings plan, is eligible.
The purpose of the program is to help families prepare and save for the ever-increasing costs of higher education. You start with an initial investment of at least 100 dollars, then each month put a minimum of 25 dollars into the account. The money may be used at any private or public university, college or career technology center nationwide.
Families can start saving and create a 529 plan for their children as soon as they're born. Studies show the earlier and more involved families are with their child's plan, the more likely the student is to attend college. The Cameron University representative says this saves the parents and the children from worrying about student loans and debt in the future.
With higher education costs continuing to climb every year, The Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan is just one way to make a long-term commitment that will benefit families and their children for a lifetime.
"It allows you to divert a little bit or a lot of your monthly salary into a tax-deferred plan. So, as you move money from your salary, you're saving money on your taxes long term. It decreases your taxable income," said John Horinek, Cameron University's Vice President for Enrollment.
Horinek says you can choose how much you want to put into the account every month, but just doing the smallest amount, $25, can go a long way.
"That money just adds up very quickly and it's also very helpful, especially when you have young children to encourage that college going starts really in the Pre-K area," Horinek said.
Financial advisor, Nick Bates says a college education is becoming more and more important, especially when that child gets a job out of college and is debt free because you planned ahead.
"On average, a college graduate will earn about a million dollars more over their lifetime than somebody that doesn't have that degree, so $100 or $200 a month to help save for that kids college will be a great investment return in the long run," Bates said.
"It adds just one more layer of protection against future increases in costs and every little bit helps when paying for college," Horinek said.
Horinek says the 529 plan is continuing to escalate as the Oklahoma program now has more than more than 47 thousand accounts and over $700 million in assets.
"I think that's an amazing advantage for Oklahomans. The 529 plan is a safe secure place to invest money that you know can be used for your child's future," Horinek said.
One additional bonus to the 529 plan is that grandparents, aunts, uncles or other family and friends can also invest in your account.
To sign up for a 529 college savings account, go online to ok4savings.org. The entry deadline for that $529 prize is August 31. The winner will be randomly selected in September.