Little girl getting ready to place money into her piggy bank

Is there an easy button for saving, especially for your children’s education after high school? Yes. There is an easy way with Ohio’s tax-free 529 Plan, and here are five easy steps to take to build your 529 higher education savings account.

Rethink your refund

For many families, an income tax refund can be the largest annual influx of extra revenue for their households. Consider saving some of that tax refund in your Ohio 529 account. Not only will you stretch those tax savings even further with your tax-free Ohio’s 529 Plan, you can reduce the amount of student loans you child may have to take out for their future higher education. To understand how these once-a-year contributions can help your 529 grow even more, The Plan That Can shows how the tax refunds amounts can grow over time.

If you receive bonuses, commissions, or any extra earnings from your job, those can also be additional contributions for your 529 higher education savings account.

Automatic deposit

When looking for basic financial advice, you will almost always hear: “Set it and forget it.”

You can follow that guidance by setting up direct deposits from your banking account or from your paycheck to your Ohio 529 account. The minimum contribution is only $25. Remember, it doesn’t matter if it’s not a large contribution because small amounts can also grow over time, especially with the power of compound interest. It’s far more important to save regularly, which you can do with your direct deposits.

Ohio’s 529 Plan uses the same Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer system that your employer uses to directly deposit your paycheck to your bank, credit union, and more. This transfer will occur after taxes have been taken out of your check.

If your employer has a limit on how many elections you can have for direct deposit, or does not offer direct deposit, you can set up your own recurring ACH contributions of $25 or more straight from your personal checking or savings account.

If you'd like to see how small changes can add up to big savings, use our tools and calculators. You can see how your college savings goals can change when you make automatic contributions.

Ask For Gifts of Higher Education

Loved ones, family, and friends can all contribute to your Ohio 529 account. Ask for gifts of higher education for your children’s birthdays, holiday celebrations, graduations and other celebrations. Loved ones want to give presents that have significance and what gift can last longer than education? A 529 gift contribution lasts a lifetime.

After all, 87% of parents would rather get money for their children’s college over any other gift.* And 90% of grandparents would give money towards college savings if the parents asked.**

Ugift is a gift-giving feature with Ohio’s 529 Plan. Ugift is an innovative way to invite family and friends to save your children’s’ future college costs when celebrating holidays, birthdays, and special achievements with gift contributions to your CollegeAdvantage Direct Plan account. After logging in to your 529 account, you can set up an Ugift code to send to our loved ones who would like to give the gift of a higher education. This code permits others to make online gift contributions directly to your CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan without your account number. Once you provide the Ugift code, friends and family can visit to make their electronic contribution securely from their bank account.


You can also add to your Ohio 529 college savings account from your cell phone! For quick and simple to access your account, Ohio's 529 Plan now offers the READYSAVE 529 app. Our savings app, developed in conjunction with our recordkeeping partner, Ascensus, makes it easy for you to access your account information, track account growth, and make both one-time and recurring contributions from the bank account on file from your cell phone! And with the READYSAVE529 app, you can send an invitation to your family and friends to contribute to your child’s higher education via Ugift.

You can download the READYSAVE 529 app now from the Apple and Google Play app stores. Once you install the app, select Ohio’s 529 Plan from the list and log in with the same username and password you use to access your account online.

Shop with Upromise

Another way to save more money for your Ohio 529 account without any extra effort is Upromise. All you have to do is keep shopping smart like you are already doing. 

Upromise is a free loyalty program that offers its members cash back for their purchases from a wide variety of businesses. When you connect your debit and/or credit card to your Upromise account, you can start earning rewards with your everyday shopping. You can then link your Upromise account to your Ohio CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan account to deposit these rebates.

Participating businesses include online retail stores through and 10,000 restaurants nationwide at which Upromise members can earn cash back. If you decide to apply for the Upromise Mastercard, you can also earn cash back rewards on every purchase made with this card.

In fact, families saving with Ohio’s 529 Plan and Upromise earned almost $1 million in 2022. These additional funds will take you closer to your higher education savings goals for your children.

Currently, when you open a free account, Upromise will add a $5.29 bonus to the new account. Additionally, you can earn another $25 in bonus rewards when you link your first account with Ohio Direct 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage. Once you reach $50 in your Upromise account, those funds will automatically transfer to your Ohio 529 Direct account.

Would you like to see how Upromise can help build your Ohio 529 college savings account? A long-time CollegeAdvantage family shared their Saving Story on how they used Upromise to add to their Ohio 529.

For more than 33 years, Ohio’s 529 Plan has been helping families across the nation save for their children’s higher education. Ohio’s 529 Plan covers qualified costs at any four-year college or university, two-year community college, trade or vocational school, apprenticeship approved by the U.S. Labor Department, or certificate programs, or continuing education classes nationwide that accepts federal financial aid. Learn, plan, and start for as little as $25 today at  

*Source: Fidelity Investments “Gift-Giving Snapshot 2015.”

**Source: Fidelity Investments “Grandparents & College Savings Study, 2014.”

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