Look to the future with the gift of education opportunity.

Written by
Emily Stetson

December 3, 2020


Children with "finger binoculars"

Our holiday wish lists may be a little different this year as we look forward, and our kids are looking forward too. Now is the time to help them pursue their dreams for the future. Saving for college or training, even in small amounts, can help your children and loved ones get ready for tomorrow’s opportunities. No matter what career path they want to explore, the VT 529 will be there to help. 

With Vermont’s state-sponsored 529 savings plan, you can give (and receive!) a gift that lasts far beyond the holiday season and makes a truly meaningful difference. Studies show that students with even small amounts of savings are 3x more likely to pursue education after high school. And that means they’ll be more prepared with the degree or credentials they need for the jobs of tomorrow. 

“College savings accounts are a powerful tool,” said Scott Giles, president and CEO of the Vermont Student Assistance Corp., the state-appointed administrator of Vermont’s 529 savings program, the Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan. “Education is one of the most important investments a student can make. That’s why we want to encourage families to save for college and other career training. Vermont’s 529 savings plan is a great place to start.”

Why save with a 529 plan?

A 529 plan is an education savings plan designed to help families set aside funds for future college or training costs, with tax advantages to help make saving easier. The plans are named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, which created these types of savings plans in 1996. The first accounts in Vermont’s official 529 savings plan were created in 1999. Last year, Vermont students used more than $41 million of VT 529 savings to pay for their education expenses.

Saving in a 529 helps minimize the amount students and their family members may need to borrow later. Every dollar saved can grow with earnings over time, reducing the need for loans. And the flexibility of 529 plans—which are viewed favorably for financial aid—enable the savings to be used to pay for tuition, room and board (both on and off campus), books, and many other costs of college or training. Plus, whatever the age of your loved one, whether an infant or a teen—or even in high school or college—you can benefit now from federal and state tax advantages for 529 contributions and savings.

A gift for the kids. A Vermont tax credit for you.

The Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan is the only savings program that enables Vermont taxpayers to get a Vermont state income tax credit on annual contributions for education after high school. Deposits made into a VHEIP account by December 31 qualify for a 10% tax credit on contributions up to $2,500 per beneficiary per year ($5,000 if filing jointly) for 2019. That’s a Vermont tax credit of up to $250 (or $500 for joint taxpayers), per beneficiary per year. And contributions can grow tax-free, adding more to your savings.

You can open an account with as little as $25, or give a gift of any amount. Learn more about all the ways to give a lasting gift. And if you’re already an account owner, this is a good time to set up automatic contributions. Also consider whether you can increase your deposits or make an extra contribution to help maximize your tax credit.

Friends and family can give a meaningful gift, too.

With VSAC’s Gift of College gift card, it’s easy to give (or ask for) the gift of education opportunity. VSAC’s Gift of College gift cards are available at Vermont locations of Cumberland Farms and Kinney Drugs stores, making it convenient to pick up a local card for the loved ones on your holiday lists. Learn more about purchasing or redeeming a VSAC Gift of College gift card here.

Dog in graduation cap holding VSAC Gift of College gift card“As family and friends shop for the special children in their lives, these gift cards offer an easy and convenient way to contribute to a college fund. And no other gift card gains value through the years,” notes Scott Giles, VSAC president and CEO.

Have a question about saving, planning, or paying for college or career training? Ask us! Visit vsac.org, email us at info@vsac.org, or call us 1-800-642-3177 Monday–Friday, 8:00 am–4:30 pm. For specific information about setting up a Vermont 529 account, visit vheip.org or VHEIP customer service at (800) 637-5860

Benji found a meaningful gift--a VSAC Gift of College gift card.