Make saving part of your September routine. Learn why.

Written by
Emily Stetson

Date
September 7, 2022

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September is National College Savings Month, highlighting the importance saving now to prepare for future education opportunities for your children (and grandkids). Whether your loved one is an infant or just starting school, or a preteen or teen heading into a new grade — or even already in high school or college — now is the right time to save.

Why is a 529 plan a good way to prepare?

Named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, 529 plans are designed to help families of all income levels set aside funds for higher education. Most 529 plans are operated by state agencies, like VSAC. Vermont’s program benefits family members of all ages, from babies to college and grad students and even adults returning to training.

Vermont has a plan to make it easy.

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The Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan, also known as VT529, was created by the VT Legislature to help families like yours prepare for college or training expenses … with tax-free advantages that help those savings go farther. As Vermont’s official 529 savings program, it’s the only 529 plan that gives Vermont taxpayers a 10% state income tax credit on annual savings deposits.

All Vermonters need some form of education or training after high school to be qualified for Vermont’s current and future jobs. With a 529 plan, you get to choose what kind of education that looks like: The funds can help pay for tuition, computers, room and board or off-campus housing, travel, fees, and the costs for apprenticeship programs or retraining at institutions throughout the U.S., as well as at schools in Canada and around the world. And there is no age or time limit on when your savings are used.

“College savings accounts are clearly a powerful tool,” notes Scott Giles, President and CEO of VSAC. “We encourage parents to get started early to save for college and other career training. The ideal time to begin saving is between birth and age five to allow your investment to build over time.” But it’s never too late to start saving — even if your child is in high school, college, or graduate school.

What if you can’t save a lot right now? 

If like many Vermonters, you’re focused on meeting today’s financial needs, you may feel that there’s little extra for saving. We understand that. 

But you may be surprised what a difference saving even small amounts can do over time. An account can be opened with just $25 (or less with payroll deduction). These small amounts can add up, free of federal and state income taxes, growing as your child grows.

Research shows that students from families who save just modest amounts (less than $500) for education are 3x more likely to go on to college or training and 4x more likely to graduate from a program. Planning now for education after high school can mean greater opportunities for the future with more jobs at better earnings. The important thing is to start saving now, with whatever you can afford.

Make saving part of your September routine.

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National College Savings Month is a great time to learn about the benefits of 529 plans and start preparing for your loved ones’ education. Celebrate this year’s milestones, birthdays, holidays or other special occasions with the VT529 plan by opening an account with a $25 deposit (or just $15 using payroll deduction) or by adding to an existing account.

To contact customer service for VT529, call 1-800-637-5860 Mon–Fri from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. or by email.

Need help with education goals? VSAC is here to assist you. For information on college and career planning and help with financial aid, go to vsac.org/FAFSAfirst and check out our online workshops and events. You can also give us a call at 800-642-3177, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and online at info@vsac.org.