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Take Our Summer College Savings Challenge!

June 26, 2017

By Suzanne Fetky, vice president of marketing at Ascensus College Savings

With summer finally upon us, we've been reflecting on the tremendous strides that families on our 529 plan platform have made in the last year. And while many account owners are beginning to make progress toward their goals, we are ready to challenge American families to begin saving, grow their accounts faster, and get their extended families and friends involved.

Here are our three challenges for you this summer:

  • Challenge #1: Just start! Families who open an account and start saving early in a beneficiary’s childhood may be in a better position to grow their savings. In fact, a little more than 1 in 5 newly opened accounts are for kids under age 1.1 Let’s grow that number to help 1 in 4 new accounts opened be for kids before their first birthday.
  • How to do it: Find a plan and open an account. On average, account owners with a beneficiary up to age 5 have accumulated $10,268 in a 529 account.1
  • Challenge #2: Start with an estimate of what you’ll need to save—and don’t panic. The average family only covers 29%2 of the cost of college with their income and savings. Student contributions, scholarships and grants, and loans can help make up the difference. But you don’t know what you need, unless you make a plan.
  • How to do it: Get a sense of what college may cost you and how saving can help you pay for it with the College Savings Planner. You’ll be able to find out how much you can be saving today and how much you won’t be paying back with interest down the line.
  • Challenge #3: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We know that this can be the toughest challenge yet. It can feel uncomfortable to ask your friends and family to give money. But I think we can all agree that the gift of college savings far outlasts the toys and clothes they usually give. And you’ll probably be surprised how many people in your child’s life are more than willing to help give them the kind of gift that lasts beyond the next birthday.
  • How to do it: Through Ugift® it’s easy and free for friends and family to make meaningful contributions throughout a child’s life toward their education. All you need to do is get your account’s unique code from your plan website and give it to your friends and family. Half of all gifts through the Ugift program for 2016 were for under $100, and every dollar contributed today is one that doesn’t have to be paid back with interest later.1

Take this summer to think about your college savings goals and rise to the challenge.

1 Ascensus, Inc. 529 account data, as of 12/31/2016

2 How America Saves for College 2016, Sallie Mae