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Babies Receive Education Savings

Babies born 5/29 receive $100 in a VT529 education savings account from VSAC and Vermont Hospitals

Parents of one lucky baby opened her VT529 account before she was born!

There’s no doubt that the to-do list is long for parents of newborns. Recognizing that those first days are busy, and it’s never too early to start saving for education and training after high school, new parents Alex and Kristina Umbhau decided to open a VT529 savings account before their baby was even born!

In addition to having her name put on this existing account, their daughter was lucky enough to arrive on 5/29, qualifying her for an additional $100 deposit in her account through a partnership between VSAC and the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS).

“I opened a VT529 account with VSAC before our daughter was born because I suspected (and it’s turned out to be true) that we would have very little time for activities other than diaper changing, figuring out her feeding and essential chores after her birth,” dad Alex Umbhau related. “Our goals are, like most parents, to have a happy, healthy little girl, which may, a very long time from now, include upper education.”

Nearly all of Vermont’s most in-demand and well-paying careers require some form of education, certificate or training after high school. After looking through various 529 options, the Umbhaus settled on the VSAC option, primarily because of the state tax benefit.

“My wife and I were both fortunate enough to have our parents help us pay for our undergraduate studies,” he noted. “Recognizing the impact that this had on our post-graduation trajectory, along with enabling us to do things like purchase a house, we feel that we should do as much as we're able to provide our daughter with this same financial head start,” he said.

Umbhau explained that his parents had instilled in him the importance of saving via long-term, compounding growth. “It’s something I believe is generally under-taught, and which I very much want to teach to our daughter,” he shared.
Vermont Student Assistance Corp (VSAC) and Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS) partnered on the 5/29 event, distributing $100 gifts to babies born that day to raise awareness of the value of planning and saving for post-secondary education— even on day one—or, in the case of the Umbhaus—before that.

“As the parent of two recent high school graduates who relied on a 529 savings plan to help save for collge, I’m proud that VAHHS partners with VSAC to raise awareness for the plan and support these new families,” said Michael Del Trecco, President and CEO of VAHHS.

“VAHHS is excited to welcome baby Umbhau and a number of other new Vermonters into the world. I know first-hand that even though those first days and weeks are long, the time goes so fast, so, I hope all families consider a VT529 account to begin saving for post-secondary education and training. Given our state’s workforce challenges, we see this as a wonderful start to preparing the next generation, and who knows how many of these little ones will join the ranks in our health care system?”

A 529 plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families set aside funds for future education costs, including college, training, and apprenticeships. It is named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, which created this type of savings plan in 1996.

“Education savings accounts are clearly a powerful tool for expanding education opportunity,” said Scott Giles, President and CEO of VSAC. “We want to encourage parents to open a VT529 account and get started early to save for college and career training. The ideal time to begin saving is between birth and age 5 to allow your investment to build over time. The Umbhaus are ahead of the curve. But it’s never too late to start saving—even if your child is in high school, college or graduate school. We know that higher levels of educational attainment correlate to better health, so there’s a strong connection between VAHHS and VSAC’s work,” noted Giles. “We are so grateful for their continued collaboration.”

Parents of newborns can encourage family and friends to contribute to their child’s VT529 account through e-gifting. Family and friends can make significant contributions to a child’s education savings account over time through birthday, holiday and graduation gifts. E-gifting makes it easy to contribute to a VT529 account online and the valuable gift will last a lifetime.

In addition to celebrating our babies born on 5/29, VSAC held a drawing for any Vermont resident or VT529 account owner for a chance to win a $529 deposit into a new or existing VT529 savings account.

Any family who has questions or would like help in setting up an online account can email To learn more about VT529 savings accounts or to open an account online, visit: