• Fact: Multiple 529 Plans Work Best For Multiple Kids

    by Amy Lyle | Jul 21, 2017

    Families with more than one child may wonder if they need more than one 529 plan to save for their children’s future college costs. While it’s not necessary, the benefits of a 529 plan customarily can be amplified best if each child has their own 529 account. Why? Here are a few reasons.

    Maximize All The Tax Benefits Of Ohio’s 529 Plan

    529 plans allow for college savings to grow in a tax-advantaged manner. Separate 529 plans for each child would maximize these benefits which include tax-free contributions and earnings and tax-free withdrawals when used to pay qualified higher education expenses.

    For Ohio residents with a CollegeAdvantage 529 account, there’s an additional tax advantage. Ohioans can deduct their 529 contributions from their Ohio taxable income, up to $2,000 per year, per beneficiary, with unlimited carry forward. In other words, an Ohio resident can take up to a $2,000 deduction ​from their state income taxes for each 529 plan with a different beneficiary. So if an Ohioan account owner has three Ohio 529 plans for three children, they can maximize this tax benefit up to $6,000 per year. Because of the unlimited carry forward for the state income tax deduction, it means that $2,000 per year is not a contribution cap. The taxpayer can continue to subtract $2,000 per year, per beneficiary, from their Ohio taxable income until all the Ohio 529 Plan contributions have been deducted.

    Take Advantage Of 529 Plans Tax-Free Withdrawals

    To open a 529 college savings plan, it’s started by one account owner for one beneficiary. A family can choose to have only one 529 account which contains all the college savings for their children; however, only the named beneficiary will be able to take advantage of tax-free withdrawals from the 529 account to cover their qualified higher education expenses. For the other non-beneficiary children whose funds are included in the same account, any account distributions made for their college costs would be subject to a 10% federal penalty as well as federal, state, and local taxes. In addition, these funds could only be sent to the account owner or the named beneficiary in these circumstances. The 529 withdrawal cannot be directly sent to the school for an individual that is not the named beneficiary.

    With CollegeAdvantage, Ohio’s 529 Plan, there is no fee to open a Direct 529 Plan account or multiple Direct 529 Plan accounts so families don’t have to pay first to start saving for college.

    Follow Different 529 Investment Plans For Different Ages

    Based on a child’s age, different 529 investment plan strategies should be considered. For instance, if a child still has a long time before attending college, then a 529 plan could include a more aggressive asset allocation, in order to potentially reap higher returns with the increased risk. Additionally, the longer the time period before college, the longer the 529 account can grow with the power of compound interest. On the flip side, if a child is close to needing the 529 account funds for college costs, then a more conservative asset allocation can be adopted so the accrued funds aren’t susceptible to the volatility of the stock market. However, if all the college savings funds for multiple children are kept in a single 529 plan, it may be difficult to modify the investment risk in the account according to the age of each child.

    CollegeAdvantage offers ready-made, age-based portfolios as well as ready-made, risk-based portfolios to tailor a 529 college savings plan to the individual needs of the beneficiary.

    Benefit From Gift Tax Rules

    Individual 529 accounts for each child also allow family members to maximize federal gift tax benefits. 529 plan contributions are considered gifts to the beneficiary. Per federal 529 laws, individuals can invest up to $14,000 ($28,000 for married couples) per beneficiary without incurring any federal gift-tax consequences. Additionally, an individual can even contribute up to $70,000 per beneficiary in a single year ($140,000 for married couples) and take advantage of five years’ worth of tax-free gifts at one time. By having multiple accounts for multiple children, an account owner can avoid triggering the federal gift tax. For grandparents who are considering gift tax implications ​while evaluating their estate planning, 529 plans can be smart way to insure that a gift is used for a highly valuable asset — a college education with the least amount of student loan debt. For further information, consult a tax adviser or estate-planning attorney.

    Lessen The Impact On Financial Aid

    529 plans are considered an asset when filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and are a component in determining the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC represents what a family can be expected to cover for higher education expenses. The difference between the total cost of enrollment and the EFC represents the remaining costs that might be subsidized through need-based federal student aid. Current federal guidelines state that if a student is a dependent and the 529 account is owned by a parent, then the 529 plan account will be considered the parent’s asset and will be calculated up to 5.64% of its value when determining the EFC. Pooling college savings for multiple children in one 529 plan will make this account bigger; therefore, it will have a larger impact on EFC. By spreading the college savings through multiple 529 accounts for each child, the asset will be smaller and have a smaller effect on the EFC.

    Easy Transfer Of 529 Funds

    Another benefit of having multiple 529 accounts for multiple children is the ease of transference of the funds from an individual 529 account. If a child finishes their post-secondary education without using all the funds in a 529 plan, the account owner has the option of changing the current beneficiary to another member of the family. The 529 funds already set aside for one child’s college expenses can readily be used by another. 

    By the way, saving for college in Ohio’s 529 plan does not mean that those funds can only be used in Ohio. 529 plans can be used nationwide (and even overseas) at any accredited two-year, four-year, graduate or professional, or any other post-secondary schools that accepts federal financial aid.

    Interested in opening an Ohio 529 plan? Visit CollegeAdvantage online to start saving for future college expenses today. Even small amounts can add up to big savings over time by saving regularly through automatic contributions or payroll deduction. And always, a 529 college savings plan is an excellent alternative to student loan debt. For a good overview on what is a 529 plan, visit SavingForCollege.com for a quick video. CollegeAdvantage is your plan, your way.

  • Simplify Your 529 Withdrawal Process

    by Amy Lyle | Jul 19, 2017

    NOTE: This is the process for CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan accounts only. The process is different for Guaranteed Plan accounts. Here is guidance for withdrawals from the Guaranteed Plan.

    The new school year is quickly approaching. By taking simple steps now, you can streamline your CollegeAdvantage 529 plan withdrawal process to pay for your child’s qualified higher education expenses promptly.

    Log in to your Ohio’s 529 Plan account

    First, log in to your Ohio 529 Plan account. If you haven’t reviewed your account recently, you’ll need to follow the two-step authentication procedure. Implemented in June, this industry standard adds an extra layer of security to protect your important college savings account information from phishing and identity theft attacks. If you have further questions, please watch the video to the right of the login button, visit Two-Factor FAQ page, or call our Customer Service Department from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST Monday-Friday at 1-800-AFFORD-IT (1-800-233-6734).  The two-step authentication process for online account access will become mandatory in late-August 2017.

    Update bank information

    Once you’ve accessed your account, confirm that your banking information is current. If it’s not, update it now. For security reasons, the bank account information must be on file for 15 business days before a withdrawal can be processed. This is a one-time waiting period, unless you change your banking information. To add your current bank account details, select your beneficiary’s account. Then look on the left side of the screen and choose “View Profile and Document.” From there, select bank information to update your records.

    Online withdrawal and online payment

    For the quickest turnaround time, request a 529 plan withdrawal online, with the withdrawal being sent electronically to you as the account owner, and follow it with an online payment to the school. This is the fastest and most accurate method of paying a higher education institution.

    Once an online 529 withdrawal is requested, you can choose to have the funds sent directly to the post-secondary education institute, your bank account, or to the account beneficiary’s bank account. Withdrawals requested before 4 p.m. EST on business days will be processed in three business days. If you opted to have the withdrawn funds to be sent to your, or the beneficiary’s, bank account, it may take additional time for the bank to show the 529 withdrawal as deposited.

    If you elected for the withdrawal to go directly to the school, make sure to provide the correct student ID number and the correct school address on the withdrawal form. CollegeAdvantage does not provide school addresses.

    If you chose to have the 529 funds deposited to your or your beneficiary’s bank account, use the college’s online portal to pay your child’s college costs. Make sure you have the correct student ID number. Processing times will vary by school; ask the bursar’s office what a good time period would be to start the withdrawal process so you can avoid late penalties.

    Online withdrawal and paper check delivery

    Again, make your withdrawal request online. You can opt to have CollegeAdvantage mail the payment directly to the school. Depending on the United States Postal Service’s delivery schedule and the school’s processing procedures, this may be a slower process. You must provide the correct school address to where the check should be sent as well as the student’s school ID number. Please note, CollegeAdvantage does not provide school addresses.

    Of course, if you selected to have the 529 withdrawal deposited into your or the beneficiary’s bank account, you can mail your personal check to the post-secondary education institute with the correct student ID on it.

     

    Paper withdrawal and paper check delivery

    If you prefer to use a paper form, CollegeAdvantage offers a Withdrawal Request Form. This is the slowest withdrawal and payment method. In order to save time, fill in the withdrawal request form online; although you can also print, fill out, and mail in the form.

    The withdrawal can be sent by a mailed check to the school. To have the payment sent directly to the school, review the “Paper Check Delivery to the School” information to fill in section 3C of the Withdrawal Request Form.

    You also have the option to have the withdrawn funds be electronically deposited into yours or the beneficiary’s bank account. There’s also the option to have the withdrawal check mailed you or the beneficiary. After the withdrawal is in your or the beneficiary’s account, you can directly pay the school.

    The most important move for you to make this summer is to prepare now for upcoming 529 withdrawals. If necessary, update your bank information on your CollegeAdvantage accounts and find out how much time the school needs to process your payment. These simple steps will expedite the withdrawal so you can pay your child’s college costs on time. If you have any further questions, our Customer Service Department is available to help from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST Monday-Friday at 1-800-AFFORD-IT (1-800-233-6734).

  • Do 529 Plans And Other Savings Affect Need-Based Financial Aid?

    by Amy Lyle | Jul 17, 2017

    You contributed to your Ohio’s 529 Plan account for years, starting early to take advantage of the CollegeAdvantage 529 tax benefits as well as the power of compound interest. Now, your child is now finishing high school and wants to continue their education, whether at an accredited two-year, four-year, graduate or professional, or any other post-secondary schools that accepts federal financial aid.

    Your next step is to submit the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FASFA) to see if your child qualifies for federal student aid. As you’re reporting your 529 plan as an asset on FASFA, you wonder, “Are all my years of saving for college going to negatively affect our chances of receiving need-based financial aid?” The answer is, “No”, according to a recent study by the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. Here’s why.

    Need-based federal and state financial aid

    Federal student aid is available in a variety of forms. Need-based federal financial aid is typically offered in the form of grants, loans or work-study. With Pell Grants, this aid given to a student will not have to be repaid. Federally subsidized student loans and parental loans must be repaid after college with interest by either the student or you. Work-study programs allow enrolled students to work part-time to earn money for some college costs. Make sure you understand what type of aid is being offered to see whether or not you will have to repay it with accrued interest.

    Other organizations — like states, universities, colleges, and private organizations —also use the FAFSA to determine what institutional grants or loans to offer to students interested in attending their school.

    Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

    You will need to submit what your incomes and assets are as well as your student’s assets and income on the FAFSA. This information is added to a formula to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC represents what a family can expect to cover for higher education expenses. The difference between the total cost of enrollment and the EFC represents the remaining amount that may subsidized through federal student aid, based on need.

    Income and assets are the largest component of the EFC formula. There are income allowances for basic living expenses, taxes, and family size; this equation will weigh parental income on a sliding scale of 22 - 47%. Students’ income will be assessed at 50%, except for two exclusions found in the simplified EFC formula and automatic zero EFC. The next part of the EFC formula is assets. There are many exclusions and allowances in this part of the equation.

    Simplified EFC formula

    If you and your spouse make less than $50,00 in adjusted gross income and also 1) have received federal public assistance in the previous two years; or 2) have filed a1040a or 1040EZ; or 3) are considered a dislocated worker, then your child qualifies for the simplified EFC formula. With this equation, your and student’s assets are not used to formulate the EFC.

    Automatic zero EFC

    If you and your spouse’s income is under $25,000, then your child is qualified for the automatic zero EFC. This sets your family’s income contribution in the EFC formula to zero, and as well as the assets. Your child’s assets also will not be included in determining the EFC.

    With these two provisions, the students who need the most need-based financial aid will not have their parents’ income and assets, as well as their own, counted in their EFC. This increases their monetary assistance funding.

    Additional EFC exclusions

    For families who don’t qualify for the simplified EFC or automatic zero EFC formulas, there are additional EFC exclusions for savings that are held in qualified retirement assets, such as 401(k)s and IRAs; home equity; family businesses; and insurance annuities.

    Allowances for college savings and asset protection

    Lastly, if you have been setting aside asset protection reserves, like an emergency fund, and savings for your children’s college educations— in 529 plans and other savings vehicles, there’s an allowance up to certain level of savings. This allowance will increase as your age increase.

    All the exclusions and allowances greatly reduce the impact that parental assets have on receiving financial aid.

    Remaining assets

    If there are any assets you own that are not listed in these provisions, only a small percentage of it will be included in the EFC. The assets can calculated up to the maximum of 5.64% of its value. For lower-income families, this percentage rate will be lower.

    Center for Social Development’s study shows that with the simplified EFC and automatic zero EFC formulas and the additional exclusions for certain parent-owned assets, then the low – and moderate-income families who need need-based federal and state financial aid will not penalized for taking steps to save for college expenses.

    Saving for college is a forward-thinking action plan. Your 529 plan has a minimal effect on needs-based federal and state financial aid. There are additional tax benefits for saving in a 529 account for your child’s future college costs. With investing in a 529 college savings plan, all of the money you contribute will grow tax-free and you can withdraw all earnings tax-free, provided that the account is used for qualified higher education expenses. When investing in Ohio’s 529 Plan, residents of Ohio receive an additional tax advantage of deducting their 529 plan contributions to CollegeAdvantage from their taxable state income in any amount up to $2,000 per year, per beneficiary, with unlimited carry forward. This means that $2,000 per year is not a contribution cap. Should you choose to contribute more than $2,000 in a calendar year, any amounts above $2,000 may be deducted in future years, in increments up to $2,000 per year, until all contributions have been deducted.

    If you have a 529 account, keep on saving. The funds you’re investing today to cover their future college costs is an investment in your child. And remember, your 529 plan will have a minimal effect on their chances of receiving need-based federal financial aid.

    If you haven’t started saving in 529 account, Ohio’s 529 Plan offers calculators and tools to build a 529 plan that best fits you and your beneficiary’s needs. CollegeAdvantage also provides 529 account strategies designated by life stages. The CollegeAdvantage Direct Plan offers a variety of investment options including ready-made, age-based or ready-made, risk-based portfolios.

    Open a CollegeAdvantage 529 plan to save for your child’s future training and education. 529 accounts are an excellent alternative to student loan debt. CollegeAdvantage is your plan, your way.

  • Graduation And 529 Day College Savings Award Winners Announced

    by Amy Lyle | Jul 12, 2017

    Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, celebrated the 2017 graduation season and 529 Day (held on May 29). Both occasions highlight the importance of saving now for your child’s college education. By planning ahead for higher education expenses, you can take full advantage of long-term savings, tax benefits, and the power of compound earnings with a 529 plan.

    To celebrate 529 Day and the graduation season, CollegeAdvantage gave away $529 college savings awards to five lucky people! Our giveaway was open to account owners and non-account owners alike.

    The five lucky winners, who were randomly selected, are:

    1. Deborah Adrine
    2. Robert Bates
    3. Nicole Beinborn
    4. Kara Bernhart
    5. Jennifer Stitt

    Winners who already own CollegeAdvantage Direct Plan accounts will use the awards to boost their ongoing savings. Those winners who are not current account owners, will open accounts and use their awards to get a jump start on their college savings!

    Thank you to everyone who participated. Congratulations to all our winners!

  • Ohio’s 529 Plan and Cincinnati Red Sweepstakes Winners Announced

    by Amy Lyle | Jul 07, 2017

    Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, is pleased to partner with the Cincinnati Reds for 2017, our fourth season bringing college savings to Great American Ball Park! Ohio’s 529 Plan wants everyone to know that saving for college is doable, especially with all the tax advantages found in a 529 college savings plan. Additionally, the earlier you start saving for your child’s future college costs, the more time your 529 account can grow from these benefits and the power of compound interest. In order to get the word out, Ohio’s 529 Plan has connected with the Reds to encourage saving for college.

    Reds Community Fund Family Catch

    As a sponsor of the Reds Community Fund Family Catch, CollegeAdvantage held a Facebook giveaway of packages for this July 1 event, held before Saturday’s Reds game against the Chicago Cubs.

    There were twenty lucky winners randomly selected. They are:

    • Tim Burchett, Milford, Ohio
    • Pamela Cromer, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Jennifer Danner, Painesville, Ohio
    • Lilly Dempsey, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • James Dockendorff, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • German Eichberger, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Charles Emmerling, Westerville, Ohio
    • Juan Fraiz, Kettering, Ohio
    • Kevin Frey, Archbold, Ohio
    • Steve Galberg, South Lebanon, Ohio
    • Jamie Hastings, Plain City, Ohio
    • Stephanie Ioia, Hilliard, Ohio
    • Susan Kahn, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Maribeth Long, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Tim Ross, Hamilton, Ohio
    • Taylor Schenking, Celina, Ohio
    • Nicole Stingle, Mount Sterling, Ohio
    • Michael Valley, Beavercreek, Ohio
    • Emily Wilder, Bethel, Ohio
    • Elisha Wright, West Chester, Ohio

    Additionally, Tim Ross represented CollegeAdvantage at this game by throwing the first pitch.

    Reds Family Sunday, July 2, game tickets

    Ohio’s 529 Plan gave away ten family four-packs of tickets to the Sunday, July 2, game Reds-Cubs game.

    There were ten lucky winners randomly selected. They are:

    • Tim Dudgeon, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Lynn Eshleman, Columbus, Ohio
    • Patty Fouch, Circleville, Ohio
    • John Kassinger, Silver Lake, Ohio
    • Courtney Nichols, Vandalia, Ohio
    • Veronica Steffen, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Robert Van As, West Chester, Ohio
    • Brent Volk, Beavercreek, Ohio
    • Warren Wolfe, Mount Vernon, Ohio
    • Angela Young, Cincinnati, Ohio

    Additionally, Warren Wolfe was selected to throw the first pitch at Sunday’s game.

    Reds Rookies and Reds Heads Kids Clubs

    CollegeAdvantage is proud to sponsor the Reds Rookies and Reds Heads Kids Clubs! Membership in the Reds Rookies is for children 0-3. The Reds Heads Kids Club is open to children ages 3 to 12. Both Reds Fan Clubs provide an opportunity to connect with the team and make memories that last a lifetime. Families in both clubs can also enter to win a $529 college savings award from CollegeAdvantage, Ohio’s 529 Plan. We’ll be giving away these awards two more times before Oct. 31. See the Kids Club coupon booklet for more information.

    The winner from our most recent drawing is:

    • Ron Henry of Bowling Green, KY

    Thank you to everyone who participated. Congratulations to all our winners!*

    Would you like to see your name on a winners’ list from CollegeAdvantage? Here are more opportunities to do so.

    There’s still time to join the Reds Heads Kids Club and enter to win one of several $529 college savings awards throughout the season. The next drawing will be held in early September.

    *Please note that the list of winners is subject to change.

  • OTTA Offices Closed On The Fourth Of July

    by Amy Lyle | Jun 28, 2017

    The offices of the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority will be closed on Tuesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. CollegeAdvantage Customer Service department (1-800-AFFORD-IT) will also be closed on this day.

    Customer Service representatives are available to assist you on regular business days from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET before or after this holiday. Please be aware that you can make an account contribution or access accounts online 24/7.

    Also, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will close in observance of the Fourth of July. In addition, the NYSE will close early at 1:00 p.m. ET on Monday, July 3, 2017. Any transaction requested on a holiday, weekend, or after the NYSE closes will be processed on the next business day.

    Additionally, here are a couple relevant links in recognition of the day:

    • The Ohio History Connection is hosting events around the state to celebrate Independence Day.
    • A list of celebrations taking place around Ohio during this holiday from Ohio.org.
  • Maintenance Scheduled For Ohio’s 529 Plan Website

    by Amy Lyle | Jun 26, 2017

    The Ohio 529 Plan’s website, CollegeAdvantage.com, will be unavailable due to routine site maintenance from 10 - 11 p.m. EST on Monday, June 26, 2017. The website is expected to be back up with full functionality at or after 11 p.m. EST on Monday. If you need access your CollegeAdvantage account during this period, you can do so at https://www.mycollegeadvantagedirect.com/ohtpl/auth/ll.cs.

  • Ohio’s 529 Plan Ranks First In Nation For 5-Year Performance

    by Amy Lyle | Jun 16, 2017

    SavingForCollege.com, a trusted college-savings industry resource, recently released their nationwide 529 direct plan performances for the first quarter of 2017. CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan has been ranked first overall in the nation at the five-year performance category; fourth overall in three-year performance; and third overall in 10-year performance.

    Long-Term 529 Investment Performance

    A crucial component for growth in a 529 college savings account is its long-term investment performance. SavingForCollege.com provides researched articles on 529 plans, financial aid, scholarships, and tools to estimate college expenses. Savingforcollege.com also analyzes the performance of the nation’s 529 plans on a quarterly basis and rank them based on that performance. Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, consistently received high ranks for its long-term investment performance.

    As of March 31, 2017, CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan ranked first across the nation for the best performance in five-year category; the previous ranking was second. The Direct 529 plan ranked fourth overall in the nation in the three-year performance, up from sixth place. In the ten-year performance category, the Direct Plan remained at third overall.

    SavingForCollege.com determined the performance score by comparing seven similar asset-allocation categories between all the nation’s 529 plans, the historical performance of each selected portfolio category, and then averaging the score of all the groupings. The rankings were then based on one-year, three-year, five-year and ten-year performance scores.

    Ohio’s 529Plan, CollegeAdvantage, is proud to receive these rankings from SavingForCollege.com. The CollegeAdvantage Direct Plan offers a variety of investment options — from ready-made, age-based or ready-made, risk-based portfolios; to investment vehicles to build a portfolio based on an individual’s risk tolerance, investing preferences, and savings goals; to FDIC-insured banking options. Ohio’s Direct 529 plan has partnered with leading investment managers Vanguard, Dimensional Fund Advisors, and Fifth Third Bank to provide these 529 plan investment options.

    Long-term investment performance is a key factor in building a 529 account. Other key elements that contribute to a 529 plan’s growth are compounded interest, 529 tax advantages, and regular contributions.

    Compound Interest – A 529 Plan Powerhouse

    By setting aside college savings in a 529 plan early in a child’s life, the 529 account will benefit from compound interest through investing over the years. Compound interest is a saving powerhouse as it is the “interest computed on the sum of an original principal and accrued interest,” according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. For 529 plans, compound interest is based on contributions, earnings, and interest already accumulated in the account.

    Compound interest in a 529 college saving plan is a huge advantage; however, compound interest in student loans is a huge disadvantage. This is one of many reasons why 529 plans are a great alternative to student loan debt, which currently stands at $1.3 trillion held by 44 million borrowers in America. Saving now for post-secondary education or training is far cheaper than paying off student loans debt later in life.

    529 Plan Tax Advantages

    CollegeAdvantage, Ohio’s 529 Savings Program, helps families across the nation save money for their children’s future college, trade, or technical school costs with tax-advantaged benefits. First, all contributions and earnings grow tax-free in a 529 plan. Second, when a 529 account withdrawal is requested to cover qualified higher education expenses, the amount taken out will be tax-free. Third, a CollegeAdvantage account owner who is an Ohio resident can deduct 529 contributions from their Ohio taxable income, up to $2,000 per year, per beneficiary, with unlimited carry forward. This means that $2,000 per year is not a contribution cap. The taxpayer can continue to subtract $2,000 per year, per beneficiary, from their Ohio taxable income until all the 529 contributions have been deducted.

    Automatic 529 account contributions

    This is a tried and true savings method. Account owners say that the easiest way to save the most is through automatic recurring contributions. This way, the funds are regularly invested in the 529 plan before there is a chance to spend it elsewhere. Automated 529 plan deposits can be aligned with paydays or a monthly contribution schedule. Just log in to the 529 account and select “Automatic Investments” from the Asset Management menu to schedule recurring contributions. Even small investments can add up to big savings over time through regular automatic contributions or payroll deduction.

    Ohio’s 529 Plan offers calculators and tools to build a 529 plan that best fits the account owner’s needs. The college savings planner can assess the projected college costs and provide an estimated monthly saving amount to be placed in a 529 plan to reach a saving goal. The cost of waiting tool can show approximately how much more money will need to be set aside if saving for college is postponed. Again, the earlier a 529 plan is started, the sooner the account can grow by taking advantage of compound interest. The tax benefit tool illustrates the long-term advantages of tax-free growth in a 529 plan compared to a taxable savings account. CollegeAdvantage also provides 529 account strategies designated by a beneficiary’s life stage. When a child is a baby to toddler, it is a fantastic time to start saving for future college expenses. During kindergarten through elementary school, disappearing expenses like day care costs can be shifted to fund the 529 account. When a student has entered middle school and high school, college savings may need to be accelerated. Even if a child is getting to start or has started even college, the tax-free earnings, tax-free withdrawals, and the state tax deduction for Ohioans can still build up the 529 account.

    By the way, saving for college in Ohio’s 529 plan does not mean that those funds can only be used in Ohio. 529 plans can be used nationwide (and even overseas) at any accredited two-year, four-year, graduate or professional, or any other post-secondary schools that accepts federal financial aid.

    Open an Ohio 529 plan to save for future training and education. An investment in a 529 plan is an investment in your child. Remember, 529 accounts are an excellent alternative to student loan debt. CollegeAdvantage is your plan, your way.

    *The performance data shown represents past performance, which is not a guarantee of future results.

  • It’s Never Too Late To Save In Ohio’s 529 Plan

    by Amy Lyle | Jun 12, 2017

    Little ones grow up in a blink of an eye. One day, they’re graduating from preschool and the next, high school. No matter where a child is in their schooling, it’s never too late to save and invest in a 529 plan for their future training and education costs. Every dollar saved is a dollar that doesn’t have to be borrowed which makes a 529 college savings plan an excellent alternative to student loan debt. No matter when an account is started, Ohio’s 529 savings plan, CollegeAdvantage, is there with information, tools, and calculators to help parents develop their post-secondary savings strategy.

    Even if a student is nearing the end of high school, there are a variety of reasons to open a 529 plan to fund their post-secondary education.

    529 plan tax benefits                              

    With a 529 plan, investment earnings grow tax free, unlike other savings accounts which can be taxed each year. Account withdrawals are also tax free, as long as they are used for 529-qualified higher education expenses, which include major costs like tuition, room and board, and computers to name a few. For Ohio residents, contributions to Ohio’s 529 Plan can be deducted up to $2,000 per beneficiary, per year, with unlimited carry forward, from your taxable income. Even if college is only few years away, or even a few months away, the many tax advantages can still boost the value of your 529 college savings.

    Different 529 investment strategies for different ages

    Based on a child’s age, different 529 investment plan strategies can be considered. For instance, if the child has some time before heading off to college, trade or technical school, then a 529 plan could include a more aggressive asset allocation to potentially gain higher returns with the increased risk. If the child will need the 529 account funds for college costs soon, then a more conservative asset allocation can be adopted so the accrued funds aren’t susceptible to the volatility of the stock market. In addition, CollegeAdvantage offers ready-made, age-based portfolios as well as ready-made, risk-based portfolios to tailor a 529 college savings plan to the individual needs of the account beneficiary as they grow up.

    Additionally, if their child has entered middle or high school, the account owner may want to accelerate their college savings by increasing their 529 contributions. Is the child already in college? Then the account owner should consider continuing to save in a 529 plan to take advantage of tax-free earnings (which saves even more money), tax-free withdrawals, and maximize the Ohio income tax deduction.

    Tools and calculators

    Ohio’s 529 Plan offers calculators and tools to build a 529 plan that best fits the account owner’s needs. The college savings planner can assess the projected college costs and provide an estimated monthly saving amount to be placed in a 529 plan to reach a saving goal. The tax benefit tool illustrates the advantages of tax-free growth in a 529 plan compared to a taxable savings account.

    Others can give the gift of college

    Loved ones want to give meaningful gifts, especially for the big events in a child’s life – holidays, birthdays, and graduation (whether it’s preschool, middle school or high school!). Encourage them to give the gift of college by making a contribution to a child’s 529 plan. Especially as college draws near, these gifts will take on added significance.

    Ohio’s 529 Plan has partnered with Ugift to simplify the process of allowing other people to contribute to CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan. Ugift creates a code which will authorize gift givers to donate directly to a 529 plan online without needing the actual 529 account number. Once a gift giver has the code, they can continue to make one-time or recurring electronic gifts for college without fees. Plus, if the gift giver is an Ohio taxpayer, they can also deduct up to $2,000 in contributions per beneficiary, per year, from their state taxable income. Their gift contribution must be made payable directly to the account, not to the child.

    Another option to consider? Have a heart-to-heart conversation with the child’s grandparents. Many 529 plan gift givers are grandparents who place a high value on higher education. They may wish to make a contribution to an existing 529 plan or even establish their own account for their grandchild. As the account owner, the grandparents will oversee the account and determine when to make withdrawals to pay for the child’s higher education expenses. They also control transfers between accounts, which is especially flexible if there is a need to transfer surplus funds from one grandchild to another. Or they can transfer their 529 account funds into an account that the parent already established as college approaches.

    Benefit From Gift Tax Rules

    Family and friends can add to 529 accounts while taking advantage of the federal gift tax benefits. Per federal 529 laws, individuals can invest up to $14,000 ($28,000 for married couples) per beneficiary without incurring any federal gift-tax consequences. Additionally, an individual can even contribute up to $70,000 per beneficiary in a single year ($140,000 for married couples) and take advantage of five years’ worth of tax-free gifts at one time. For grandparents who are considering gift tax implications ​while evaluating their estate planning, 529 plans can be smart way to insure that their monetary gift is used for a highly valuable asset — a college education with little student loan debt. For further information about the federal gift tax, please consult a tax adviser or estate-planning attorney.

    Shop With Upromise To Bolster 529 Account

    Ohio’s 529 Savings Program has partnered with Upromise to help account owners save even more for college. Upromise is a free loyalty program that offers its members cash back for their purchases from a wide variety of businesses partners, which include over 850 online retail stores and 10,000 restaurants where Upromise members can earn 5% cash back. Others organizations include over 20,000 grocery and drug stores, where Upromise members earn money back on purchases and earn additional rebates with eCoupons. By connecting debit and/or credit card to an Upromise account, account owners can start earning rewards with everyday shopping. When the account owners link their Upromise account to their CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan, they can roll these rebates straight to the account.

    Curious how CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan account owners used Upromise? Read this Saving Story from a family who used it to add to their 529 savings.

    Although the benefits of a 529 college savings plan are maximized when the account has a long period of time to grow through the power of compound interest, it’s never too late to start saving for college in Ohio’s 529 Plan. The many benefits, increased contributions, investment strategies, loved one’s college savings gifts, and Upromise can build your 529 account to pay for the child’s post high school education or training costs.

    Ready to start with Ohio’s 529 Savings Program? It’s easy to open an account online. Already have an account and would like to make modifications? Log in to the Direct 529 Plan account to increase automatic deposits or payroll deduction contribution amount, update information, or perform account maintenance. And remember, 529 college savings plan is an excellent alternative to student loan debt. CollegeAdvantage is your plan, your way.

  • Time Running Out To Enter Ohio's 529 Plan College Savings Giveaway

    by Amy Lyle | Jun 09, 2017

    Time does fly by with chi​ldren; they grow up in the blink of an eye. That’s one of the many reasons the 529 college-savings industry introduced 529 Day during the month of graduation celebrations, whether it’s from preschool, middle school, or high school. 529 Day (May 29th) highlights the importance of saving now for your child’s future college education in a 529 college savings plan, whether the future is eighteen years away or three months from now. By starting early, a college savings fund can grow with them. It’s easy, too, with Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage.

    And ​time is flying by to enter to Ohio’s 529 Plan college savings giveaway. In honor of 529 Day and all the high school graduations, Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, wants to help account owners reach their college savings goals by giving away five $529 CollegeAdvantage College Savings Awards!  The deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. EST this Sunday, June 11. Use the award to start a CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan, add to a current 529 account to cover future post-secondary education or training costs! 

    What’s a 529 plan?

    Let’s start at the beginning: A 529 plan is a college saving account, named after the part of the Internal Revenue Code that authorized their creation in 1996, Section 529. Legally know as a “qualified tuition plan”, these college savings accounts are sponsored by states, state agencies, or educational institutions. Ohio Tuition Trust Authority is the state agency that administers Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage. 

    Tax advantages of 529 ​college ​savings plans

    529 plans are the tax-advantaged way to save for college through tax-free earnings and tax-free withdrawals for 529​-qualified higher education expenses. Additionally, Ohioans who save in CollegeAdvantage, Ohio’s 529 plan, can deduct 529 contributions up to $2,000 from their Ohio taxable income per beneficiary, per year. But they are allowed to contribute even more! Contributions over $2,000 per beneficiary, per year, may be carried forward to deduct from future tax years until all of your contributions are fully deducted. By planning ahead for future college costs, a 529 account can grow through the power of compound interest, regular contributions from not only the account owner but also family and friends, as well as all the tax benefits.

    For families with young children, 529 college savings plans are a great way to start early and save over time in a tax-advantaged way while taking advantage of the power of compound interest. Even with older children, it’s never too late to save in a 529 account to maximize the tax benefits.

    National 529 Day and graduation season are great ​times to get started now. Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, helps families across the nation save money for their children’s future college costs.

    Want to know more about Ohio’s 529 plan? The CollegeAdvantage Direct Plan offers a variety of investment options — from ready-made, age-based or ready-made, risk-based portfolios; to investment vehicles to build a portfolio based on an individual’s investing preferences; and to FDIC-insured banking options. Ohio’s Direct 529 plan has partnered with leading investment managers Vanguard, Dimensional Fund Advisors, and Fifth Third Bank to provide these 529 plan investments. Similarly, CollegeAdvantage has partnered with BlackRock to offer an Advisor Plan.

    CollegeAdvantage offers calculators and tools to build a 529 plan that best fits the account owner’s needs. The college savings planner can assess the projected college costs and provide an estimated monthly saving amount to be placed in a 529 plan in order to reach a saving goal. The cost of waiting tool can show approximately how much more money will need to be set aside if saving for college is postponed. Again, the earlier a 529 plan is started, the sooner the account can grow by taking advantage of compound interest. The tax benefit tool illustrates the long-term advantages of tax-free growth in a 529 plan compared to a taxable savings account. CollegeAdvantage also provides 529 account strategies by a beneficiary’s life stage: from baby to toddler, which is a fantastic time to start saving for future college expenses; kindergarten through elementary school, when disappearing expenses like day care costs can be shifted to fund the 529 account; middle school and high school, when college savings may need to be accelerated; and even college, where tax-free earnings, tax-free withdrawals, and the state tax deduction for Ohioans can still build up the 529 account.

    Saving for college in Ohio’s 529 Plan does not mean that those funds can only be used in Ohio. 529 plans can be used nationwide (and even overseas) at any accredited two-year, four-year, graduate or professional, or any other post-secondary schools that accepts federal financial aid.

    Consider opening an Ohio 529 Plan to save for future college costs. Remember, 529 accounts are an excellent alternative to student loan debt. Enrollment in CollegeAdvantage is easy. Even if your children are older, it’s not too late to save what you can while also taking advantage of the great tax benefits. CollegeAdvantage is your plan, your way.

  • Ohio’s 529 Plan Adopting Two-Factor Authentication Policy

    by Amy Lyle | May 31, 2017

    Many financial institutions have moved to a two-factor authentication procedure to augment the security of online access to monetary accounts. Log in passwords only (one-factor authentication) ​are no longer considered enough protection to withstand a security breech. In fact, the Social Security Administration recently announced it’s moving to two-factor authentication process to protect the valuable account information by double-checking their online account users’ identities. Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, is also following this industry standard by adding an extra layer of security to protect important college savings account information from phishing attacks and identity theft. 

    What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

    So what exactly is two-factor authentication? It is a multi-level identification process that allows a customer access to information only after they prove their identity in these two categories: Knowledge (something they know), and possession (something they have).

    Most people already use two-factor authentication. When withdrawing money from an ATM, customer must first have the card (possession – something the customer has) and then the customer must enter the PIN (knowledge – something the costumer knows). Many financial service providers already require two-factor authentication when accessing your accounts from a new desktop or other secure device.

    How To Get Started

    A CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 account owner will to take two steps to verify their identity. The first step will be to log in as normal with the account number and password from a private computer or other secure device. This first step would be possession – something they have. The second step will occur when they enter the PIN. This second step is knowledge – something the account owner alone would know. Once they are logged in, the account owner will select how to receive the PIN (Personal Identification Number) – either by text, by phone, or by calling CollegeAdvantage’s Customer Service Department themselves. Once the PIN has been received and then entered from your computer or other secure device, the authentication is complete. the authentication process is complete. In order to keep the account secure, this process will be repeated during the life of the account.

    Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, will be adopting the two-factor authentication process starting in June. At that point, customers will have the option to forego this added layer of security. However, starting in late August to early September, the two-factor authentication process will be permanently required for all account owners.

    Have more questions? Find answers on this Two-Factor FAQ page or call our Customer Service Department from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST Monday-Friday at 1-800-AFFORD-IT (1-800-233-6734). Additionally, when an account owner logs into their Direct 529 Plan account, there will be a video to watch which describ​es the steps involved with the two-factor authentication process.

    CollegeAdvantage is your plan, your way. 

  • Give The Littlest Grads The Gift Of College

    by Amy Lyle | May 26, 2017

    Pomp and Circumstance” swells as the sounds of rustling gowns and shuffling feet fill the air. The whole audience waits in eager anticipation with outstretched arms with cameras at the ready. Suddenly you see them, with tassels swaying on their paper plate “mortar boards,” crossing the stage to receive their mini diplomas. At the end of the ceremony, they are moving up to . . . kindergarten! Overwhelmed with pride, you think, “Wow, they are growing up so fast.” And then you realize, “Wow, they are growing up SO fast!”  

    They really do grow up in the blink of an eye. By starting early, a college savings fund can grow with them. It’s easy, too, with Ohio’s 529 plan, CollegeAdvantage.

    What’s A 529 plan?

    Established by the Internal Revenue Code 529 in 1996, 529 plans are the tax-advantaged way to save for college through tax- free earnings and tax-free withdrawals for 529 qualified higher education expenses. Additionally, Ohioans who save in CollegeAdvantage, Ohio’s 529 plan, can deduct 529 contributions up to $2,000 from their Ohio taxable income per beneficiary, per year. But they are allowed to contribute even more! Contributions over $2,000 per beneficiary, per year, may be carried forward to deduct from future tax years until all of your contributions are fully deducted. By planning ahead for future college costs, a 529 account can grow through power of compound interest, regular contributions from not only the account owner but also family and friends, as well as all the tax benefits.

    Ask Others For The Gift Of A College Education

    You probably weren’t alone as you watched your preschooler graduate. Family and friends will want to give meaningful gifts for this and other important milestones in your child’s life. You can invite them to contribute to your child’s CollegeAdvantage account instead of giving traditional gifts for graduations, birthdays, holidays, achievements, and other special occasions. And it’s easy to arrange. You just need to log in to your CollegeAdvantage Direct Plan and click on Ugift to request a unique code, which will authorize gift givers to donate directly to a 529 plan online without needing the actual 529 account number. Once a gift giver has the code, they can continue to make one-time or recurring electronic gifts for college without fees. If the gift giver is an Ohio taxpayer, they too can deduct their own contributions from their Ohio taxable income. Their gift contribution just needs to be made payable directly to the account, not to the child.

    Disappearing Expenses Can Become 529 Contributions

    Also, with your child starting kindergarten this fall, you can add the money from disappearing preschool expenses to your child’s CollegeAdvantage account. Disappearing expenses are those costs that are in your budget for a limited time span. And daycare/preschool is one of the largest disappearing expenses for families as their children grow. Once your child enters kindergarten, consider turning those dollars into regular contributions to your CollegeAdvantage 529 account. You won’t miss it and you will be continuing to support your child’s educational needs.

    Age-Based 529 Investment Strategies

    Also, take the opportunity to review your child’s time horizon to college and determine if some modifications need to be made to the 529 college savings plan. If your child just started kindergarten, you have more time to save even more as well as benefit from the power of compound interest. If your child is in middle or high school, you may want to accelerate your college savings. CollegeAdvantage also offers ready-made, age-based portfolios as well as ready-made, risk-based portfolios to tailor a 529 college savings plan to the individual needs of the beneficiary.

    Boost The 529 Account With Upromise

    Ohio’s 529 Savings Program has partnered with Upromise to help account save more for college. Upromise is a free loyalty program that offers its members cash back for their purchases from a wide variety of businesses partners, which include over 850 online retail stores and 10,000 restaurants where Upromise members can earn 5% cash back. Others organizations include over 20,000 grocery and drug stores, where Upromise members earn money back on purchases and earn additional rebates with eCoupons. By connecting debit and/or credit card to an Upromise account, account owners can start earning rewards with everyday shopping. When the account owners link their Upromise account to their CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan, they can roll these rebates straight to the account.

    Curious how CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan account owners used Upromise? Read this Saving Story from a family who used it to add to their 529 savings

    Can Ohio’s 529 Plan Only Be Used In Ohio? No!

    Saving for college in Ohio’s 529 Plan does not mean that those funds can only be used in Ohio. 529 accounts can be used nationwide (and even overseas) at any accredited two-year, four-year, graduate or trade, or any other post-secondary schools that accepts federal financial aid. If the post-secondary school has a Federal School Code on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the 529 plan can be used there to cover qualified higher education expenses. Basically, you can use the 529 account almost anywhere you’re comfortable sending both your student and your money.

    College Savings Giveaway

    To help give the gift of a college education during the graduation season, CollegeAdvantage, Ohio’s 529 plan, is giving away five $529 CollegeAdvantage College Savings Awards! Entries will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. EST on June 11.

    As you’ll soon experience, they go from preschool to college really fast! Your college savings can grow with them by using Ohio’s 529 Plan. If you are ready to start saving with CollegeAdvantage, it’s easy to open an account online here. For a good overview on what is a 529 plan, visit SavingForCollege.com for a quick video. A 529 savings plan is an excellent alternative to student loan debt. CollegeAdvantage is your plan, your way.


  • OTTA Office Is Closed For Memorial Day

    by Amy Lyle | May 24, 2017

    The offices of the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority will be closed on Monday, May 29, in observance of the Memorial Day.

    CollegeAdvantage Customer Service department (1-800-AFFORD-IT) will be closed on this day. Customer Service representatives are available to assist you on regular business days from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST before or after this holiday. However, you always have access to your 529 account online 24/7 if you’d like to make a graduation gift or account contribution.

    Please note that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will also be closed in observance of Memorial Day. Any transaction requested on a holiday, weekend, or after the NYSE closes will be processed on the next business day.

    Additionally, here are a couple relevant links in recognition of the day:

    • The Ohio History Connection is hosting events around the state to commemorate the day.
    • From the Ohio Department of Higher Education, here are education opportunities for veterans and active service members.
  • Maintenance Scheduled For Ohio’s 529 Plan Website

    by Amy Lyle | May 23, 2017

    The Ohio 529 Plan’s website, CollegeAdvantage.com, will be unavailable due to routine site maintenance from 1 - 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. The website is expected to be back up with full functionality at or after 4 a.m. EST on Wednesday. If you need access your CollegeAdvantage account during this period, you can do so at https://www.mycollegeadvantagedirect.com/ohtpl/auth/ll.cs

  • Give Grads The Gift Of College With Ohio's 529 Plan

    by Amy Lyle | May 17, 2017

    Congratulations to the Class of 2017! If you are invited to graduation parties, you may be wondering what you should give the recent high school grad. A gift card to some restaurant or online store that you hope they like? Something practical like sheets, towels, or a shower caddy to take to college? Something expensive like a laptop?

    Would you rather give a gift that has meaning and significance? How about giving the gift of college by adding to the graduate’s 529 plan? It’s never too late to add to their account to cover upcoming college expenses. And it’s simple to do.

    How To Give A Gift To A 529 Plan

    If the parents have established a CollegeAdvantage 529 account for the graduate, you can write a check made payable to the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority. Simply present the check as your gift to your recipient who can then mail the contribution, hopefully along with other gift contribution checks, to CollegeAdvantage. You can also order a graduation greeting card to announce your contribution. And there is no fee to make a gift donation so the graduate receives the full dollar amount in their account.

    Another method of giving the gift of college is to ask the parents if they have an Ugift code for the child’s CollegeAdvantage Direct Plan account. Ugift allows account owners (usually the parents) to set up a code which allows gift givers to donate online directly to an already established CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 plan account without needing the actual account number. Once you have the unique Ugift code for the gift recipient, you can visit Ugift529.com to make your electronic contribution securely from your bank account. It's that easy. It’s also quick and easy for parents to request an Ugift code for their existing accounts. They just need to log in to their account and click on Ugift. Again, you can order a graduation greeting card to announce your online contribution.

    Tax Benefits For Gift Giver

    And, if you are an Ohio tax payer who contributed to a CollegeAdvantage account, even if you are not the account owner, you can deduct up to $2,000 in contributions per beneficiary, per year from your Ohio taxable income. (For tax purposes, you must keep your own proof and record of contributions.) In this way, your gift of college savings can help the graduate and it can help you, too!

  • Don’t Procrastinate About Saving For College

    by User Not Found | May 15, 2017

    In honor of ​CollegeAdvantage's 25th anniversary milestone, many longtime account owners shared their Saving Stories and how using CollegeAdvantage helped them achieve their goals. We are fortunate to have these encouraging stories of how families prioritized their children’s higher education and are sharing them again. Here’s a great testimonial from one of our CollegeAdvantage families​. 

    We feel old in light of the 25th anniversary of CollegeAdvantage, but then we are grandparents now! Our family has doubled since we opened that first college savings account. Now we have our two grown daughters plus a son-in-law and a grandson!

    Although it might have been easier to procrastinate about saving for college when the girls were young, we were disciplined and agreed about education being a priority. Our advice to young parents:  pay yourself first by starting a college savings account for your children. They will be your best legacy!

    We both worked and contributed to our own college, but hoped to make it easier on the girls by having saved at least half of what they would need. In addition to what we saved for them, both of our daughters worked and contributed to their educational expenses as well.

    Our eldest, earned her undergraduate in Elementary Education from Wright State University and her Masters at the University of Dayton. She’s been teaching 2nd grade for 7 years!  Our youngest, went to Eastern Kentucky University and earned her BSN in Nursing. Now she’s not only working full-time as an oncology nurse at the University of Kentucky’s Children’s Hospital, but also completing her Nurse Practitioner graduate degree through Northern Kentucky University. She graduates this summer!

    Obviously, we’re very proud of both daughters!

    Our grandson just celebrated his 1st birthday. The Dr. Seuss party theme was fitting since his Daddy and Mommy started a CollegeAdvantage fund for him just weeks after he was born. So he’ll be . . .

    “. . . off to Great Places!
    Today is your day!
    Your mountain is waiting . . .” 
    ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

     

    Marcus and Lora Warwar

    Miamisburg, Ohio 

    This story was originally published on April 24, 2015.
  • Congrats to Book Jackets winners from Ohio’s 529 Plan

    by Amy Lyle | May 12, 2017

    CollegeAdvantage, Ohio’s 529 college savings plan, is proud to come along aside the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation to support their Book Jackets initiative, encouraging kindergarteners to eighth-graders to broaden their minds through reading.

    As part of the Book Jackets reading incentive program, many prizes were distributed to participating classrooms, including Book Jackets folders, Columbus Blue Jackets mini notebooks, and CBJ sunglasses. Additionally, three classes won a pizza party with Blue Jackets mascot, Stinger. The classrooms were from Norwich, Greensview, and Cranbrook elementary schools. From of all the participating schools, students who read the most minutes across the Book Jackets program celebrated with a pizza party held at Nationwide Arena. They even got to skate the Blue Jacket’s home ice!

    CollegeAdvantage also selected five winners to receive $259 college savings awards. The winners are:

    • Luke Shelton of Plain City, OH
    • Megan Friece of Galena, OH
    • Julie Samora of Columbus, OH
    • Kathleen Kenyon of Amanda, OH
    • Amy McComas of London, OH

    Winners who already own CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan accounts will use the awards to boost their ongoing savings. Those winners who are not current account owners, will open accounts and use their awards to get a jump start on their college savings!

    Thank you to everyone who participated. Congratulations to all our winners!*

    Would you like to see your name on a winners’ list from CollegeAdvantage? Here’s an upcoming opportunity to do so.

    Ohio’s 529 college savings plan will be celebrating 529 Day (held on May 29) which showcases the importance of early college savings. By planning ahead for higher education expenses, you can take full advantage of long-term savings, tax benefits, and the power of compound earnings with a 529 plan. To celebrate 529 Day, CollegeAdvantage will give away $529 College Savings Awards to ten lucky people! The giveaway runs from May 22 - June 16, 2017, and is open to account owners and non-account owners alike. Visit CollegeAdvantage.com starting May 22 to enter to win.

  • Ohio’s 529 Plan Counting Down To 529 Day!

    by Amy Lyle | May 09, 2017

    Ohio’s 529 Plan knows how important it is to celebrate life’s milestones and May is filled with them: Mother’s Day, Graduation, Memorial Day, and 529 Day. 529 Day? What’s that? Held on May 29, 529 Day highlights the importance of saving now for your child’s future college education in a 529 college savings plan, whether the future is eighteen years away or three months from now.

    What’s a 529 plan?

    Established by the Internal Revenue Code 529 in 1996, 529 plans are the tax-advantaged way to save for college through tax- free earnings and tax-free withdrawals for 529​-qualified higher education expenses. Additionally, Ohioans who save in CollegeAdvantage, Ohio’s 529 plan, can deduct 529 contributions up to $2,000 from their Ohio taxable income per beneficiary, per year. But they are allowed to contribute even more! Contributions over $2,000 per beneficiary, per year, may be carried forward to deduct from future tax years until all of your contributions are fully deducted. By planning ahead for future college costs, a 529 account can grow through the power of compound interest, regular contributions from not only the account owner but also family and friends, as well as all the tax benefits.

    529 college savings giveaway

    In honor of 529 Day and all the high school graduations, Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, wants to help account owners reach their college savings goals by giving away five $529 CollegeAdvantage College Savings Awards! Contest entries will be accepted at CollegeAdvantage.com starting May 22 through 11:59 p.m. EST on June 11, 2017.

    Continuing 529 college savings education

    Continuing the 529 Day celebration, Ohio’s 529 Plan is sponsoring a free, live one-hour Q&A webcast at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, May 24. Tim Gorrell, executive director of Ohio Tuition Trust Authority, the state agency that administers CollegeAdvantage, along with college savings industry experts from Savingforcollege.com, Wall Street Journal, and Florida Prepaid College Board will share their insights regarding college savings and investments. Everyone who registers for the webcast will be able to submit their questions on 529 plans, financial aid, and other college planning topics. Additionally, the registrants will receive a free download of Savingforcollege.com's Family Guide to College Savings.

    For families with young children, 529s are a great way to start early and save over time in a tax-advantaged way. National 529 Day is a great reason to get started now. Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, helps families across the nation save money for their children’s future college costs.

    Want to know more about Ohio’s 529 plan? The CollegeAdvantage Direct Plan offers a variety of investment options — from ready-made, age-based or ready-made, risk-based portfolios; to investment vehicles to build a portfolio based on an individual’s investing preferences; and to FDIC-insured banking options. Ohio’s Direct 529 plan has partnered with leading investment managers Vanguard, Dimensional Fund Advisors, and Fifth Third Bank to provide these 529 plan investments. Similarly, CollegeAdvantage has partnered with BlackRock to offer an Advisor Plan.

    The CollegeAdvantage website offers calculators and tools to build a 529 plan that best fits the account owner’s needs. The college savings planner can assess the projected college costs and provide an estimated monthly saving amount to be placed in a 529 plan in order to reach a saving goal. The cost of waiting tool can show approximately how much more money will need to be set aside if saving for college is postponed. Again, the earlier a 529 plan is started, the sooner the account can grow by taking advantage of compound interest. The tax benefit tool illustrates the long-term advantages of tax-free growth in a 529 plan compared to a taxable savings account. CollegeAdvantage also provides 529 account strategies by a beneficiary’s life stage: from baby to toddler, which is a fantastic time to start saving for future college expenses; kindergarten through elementary school, when disappearing expenses like day care costs can be shifted to fund the 529 account; middle school and high school, when college savings may need to be accelerated; and even college, where tax-free earnings, tax-free withdrawals, and the state tax deduction for Ohioans can still build up the 529 account.

    Consider opening an Ohio 529 plan to save for future college costs. Remember, 529 accounts are an excellent alternative to student loan debt. CollegeAdvantage is your plan, your way. Enrollment in CollegeAdvantage is easy. Even if your children are older, it’s not too late to save what you can while also taking advantage of the great tax benefits.

  • We Believe In CollegeAdvantage

    by User Not Found | May 08, 2017

    CollegeAdvantage, founded in 1989, has been around long enough that children whose parents saved for them, now have their own children and the now grandparents continue to save in CollegeAdvantage ​529 accounts for future college expenses. The Raabs are one such family of generational college savers.

    Without a doubt, my husband and I both agree that putting our ​two children through college through the CollegeAdvantage program was the best financial decision we've ever made! We believed in the program so deeply, and we told everyone we knew about it! To this day, we continue to brag about our wise decision to utilize the CollegeAdvantage program!

    My husband and I are both graduates of Ohio State. He is a Veterinarian, and I am a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. It was a high priority of ours to save for our children's college education. The problem was, we didn't have much money. We went to an informational session in our community on the CollegeAdvantage program and we thought it was something we could afford if we worked on it little by little. In the beginning, it was a struggle. We often put our own savings on hold in order to pay into the program. Whenever grandparents or relatives gave us money for the girls for holidays or birthdays, we put it in the CollegeAdvantage account. Our girls were 3 and 5 years old when we began saving and it took us 14 years to fund their entire education, but it was well worth it for them to have no college debt! We were so proud of ourselves when we achieved our goal!

    Our oldest daughter was a Valedictorian and she went to Miami University. She graduated in three years summa cum laude in Botany. When she went on for her Master's degree in Environmental Science at Cleveland State University, she still had a full year of tuition she could use to pay for her graduate education! Having her first job and a new apartment, she had minimal funds and these savings served as a Godsend to her! Currently, she is an Environmental Specialist with the NE Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland.

    Our youngest daughter went to Ohio State and graduated in Nursing. Interestingly, she became good friends with a girl whose parents also participated in the CollegeAdvantage Program! She has her Master's Degree and works as a Nurse Anesthetist at Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

    We have a grandson now, and his first birthday is fast approaching! Our most important gift to him will be the opening of a CollegeAdvantage savings account for his future education. WE BELIEVE!!!!!!

    Mary Raab

    Waynesville, Ohio

    This Saving Story was first posted in April 28, 2015.
  • Ohio’s 529 Plan Congratulates College Savings Awards Winners

    by Amy Lyle | May 05, 2017

    CollegeAdvantage, Ohio’s 529 Plan, wants to let everyone know that saving for college is doable, especially with all the tax advantages found in a 529 college savings plan. Additionally CollegeAdvantage wants parents to know that the earlier you start saving for your child’s future college costs, the more time your 529 account can grow from these benefits and the power of compound interest. In order to get the word out, Ohio’s 529 plan has connected with a variety of organizations around the state to encourage saving for college and offer college savings giveaways with each partner.

    Reds Rookies and Reds Heads Kids Clubs

    CollegeAdvantage is proud to partner with the Cincinnati Reds to sponsor the Reds Rookies and Reds Heads Kids Clubs! Membership in the Reds Rookies is for children 0-3. The Reds Heads Kids Club is open to children ages 3 to 12. Both Reds Fan Clubs provide an opportunity to connect with the team and make memories that last a lifetime. Families in both clubs can also enter to win a $529 college savings award from CollegeAdvantage, Ohio’s 529 Plan. We’ll be giving away these awards three more times before Oct. 31. See the Kids Club coupon booklet for more information.

    The winner from the first drawing is:

    • Tony Kountz of Cincinnati, OH

    Jersey Watch

    CollegeAdvantage has also partnered Jersey Watch to keep families informed of players’ registration, game schedules and more through local sports organization websites. As part of the partnership, CollegeAdvantage gave away a $529 college savings award to a lucky winner.

    The winner from the March 31 drawing is:

    • Carol Alexander of Westerville, OH

    University of Cincinnati Alumni Association

    In a new partnership, Ohio’s 529 Plan coordinated with the University of Cincinnati Alumni Association to sponsor the University of Cincinnati Alumni Association photo booth at alumni events as well as the UC Alumni Baby Bearcat Program. In conjunction with the photo booth, CollegeAdvantage offered a $529 college savings award. And the winner from photo booth drawing is:

    • Ruby Larson of Omaha, NE

    Winners who have already opened CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan accounts will use the awards to boost their ongoing savings. Those winners who are not current account owners will open accounts and use their awards to get a jump start on their college savings!

    Thank you to everyone who participated. Congratulations to all our winners!*

    Would you like to see your name on a winners’ list from CollegeAdvantage? Here’s an upcoming opportunity to do so.

    Ohio’s 529 college savings plan will be celebrating 529 Day (held on May 29) which showcases the importance of saving now for your child’s college education. By planning ahead for higher education expenses, you can take full advantage of long-term savings, tax benefits, and the power of compound earnings with a 529 plan. To celebrate 529 Day, CollegeAdvantage will give away $529 College Savings Awards to five lucky people! The giveaway, which runs from May 22 – June 16, is open to account owners and non-account owners alike. Visit CollegeAdvantage.com starting May 22 to enter to win.

    * If your name is listed here as a winner and you have not yet contacted CollegeAdvantage, please do so now so that you don’t risk forfeiting your award. Email us to claim your prize as soon as possible. Please note that the list of winners is subject to change.

Back To Top