College Savings Plan Contributions Provide Gift-Givers with Easy Alternative to Traditional Gifts While Helping Recipients Build a Foundation for the Future

ATLANTA—It’s officially the holiday season, and that means it’s time to find the perfect gifts to show loved ones how much we care.  This year, Georgia’s Path2College 529 Plan wants to encourage families to consider giving a meaningful gift that will last a lifetime—the gift of education.

Contributions can be made for as little as $25, and the plan is available for both children and adults.  Contributions to a 529 college savings plan can be used to pay for the costs of college tuition and other qualified expenses, such as fees, books, and certain room and board costs for colleges, universities and post secondary training nationwide.

Through the website, www.Path2College529.com, the state’s 529 college savings plan provides gift-givers with an e-Gifting option where contributions can be made to a Path2College account online, and “Gift of Education” certificates can be created to show the contribution to a loved one’s account.

“Contributing to a college savings account for a holiday gift is a great way to help someone achieve their dreams, and it’s perfect to give in addition to or instead of toys that often quickly lose their excitement,” said Mitch Seabaugh, executive director of the Path2College 529 Plan.

For those hoping family and friends will contribute to an existing plan instead of a more traditional gift, Path2College has created an option to allow account owners to send a tactful, prewritten email inviting others to contribute to their existing Path2College 529 Plan account. The email contains a link that, when clicked on, goes to a secure web page, where he or she can make an electronic contribution from a checking or savings account.  The e-gifting program allows family and friends to make contributions without having to know or enter an account number or the investment option to which they’re contributing and no account information is shared with the gift giver. During 2014, over $2 million was contributed through the e-gifting program with 30% of those contributions received in December.

“Many parents are hesitant to ask for contributions for gifts, but the e-gifting option makes it easier to request the gift of education,” said Seabaugh.  “It’s really a win-win—family members and friends are giving a meaningful gift that can help a child achieve his or her dreams, and parents are getting help with one of the largest expenses they will face for their children.”

Parents, grandparents, relatives and friends who are U.S. citizens or resident aliens and at least 18 years of age may open an account and contribute to the Path2College 529 Plan on behalf of a beneficiary.

Any earnings in the Path2College 529 Plan are federal and Georgia income tax-deferred and withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses are federal and Georgia income tax free.  In addition, the State of Georgia offers a state income tax deduction on contributions of up to $2,000 per year, per beneficiary.  (Transfers from another 529 plan are not eligible for the deduction. Recapture provisions apply.)

For more information on Georgia’s Path2College 529 Plan and its tax advantages, how to open an account or e-gifting, please call 877-424-4377 or visit www.Path2College529.com.

Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the Path2College 529 Plan. Visit www.path2college529.com for a Plan Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Please read it carefully.

The tax information contained herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek advice from an independent tax advisor based on their own particular circumstances.  Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional 10% federal tax.

Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.

Account value for the Investment Options is not guaranteed and will fluctuate based upon a number of factors, including general market conditions.

TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Program Manager.

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