In 2015, CollegeAdvantage celebrated its 25th anniversary. In honor of this 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. 

We had two children, four years apart. We were concerned that when it came time to go to college we might find ourselves in a bind if my son, the older child, took more than four years to complete his program. That would mean two children in college at the same time. So, we decided to start a CollegeAdvantage program for the younger of the two. (We felt it would not benefit our son as he was too close to graduating from high school. The fund would not have accumulated enough with time so limited.) As it turned out, just days before our younger child graduated from high school, my husband Jon died. That meant that I was now a single parent with children about to go to college.

When my husband and I started the program we, of course, never dreamed that anything as horrible as death would occur in our lives, especially at such a time. But, the future happens in strange ways.

CollegeAdvantage helped me put my daughter through school. That part of it worked out well. We had added to her account by contributing any monetary gifts received, bonuses, and a small amount each month.

My daughter went to Toledo University for her freshman year, but found Toledo was too far from home after losing her father so suddenly. For her sophomore year, she transferred to Kent State University. She received her degree in Hospitality from Kent. She used her degree at Judson Manor in Cleveland and then at University Hospital.

She is now married with two children and is a stay-at-home mom. She uses her college knowledge to plan block parties, recipe exchanges, and themed children's birthday celebrations, in addition to running a household.

She and her husband have 529 plans for each of their children. She knows how it helped her to graduate from college without debt. Her intention is to pass that on to her own children.

Marlene Laidley

Jefferson, Ohio

This Saving Story originally was posted April 16, 2015.

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