SOURCE: ScholarShare

ScholarShare

March 11, 2012 10:00 ET

March Madness and a 529 College Saving Plan -- A Winning Combination

Help Get Your Loved Ones on the Path to College by Starting a ScholarShare College Savings Account

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - Mar 11, 2012) - ScholarShare, California's 529 college savings program, says March Madness, the NCAA college basketball tournament, is a great time to open a new 529 plan to help cover the cost of college. With this year's tournament guaranteed to bring exciting moments, there is no greater thrill than seeing your child or loved one attend the college of their dreams. And since the cost to open a brand new college savings account is only $25, the real madness would be not using this opportunity to start saving money for college. As so many prestigious universities enter the spotlight during this month, many California families take this time to contribute towards future college tuition costs while educating their children about the importance of a college education.

March Madness can bring about so many memorable moments and it's a joy to celebrate the accomplishments of these student-athletes. While we admire the athletic skills of these 64 teams, it's important to note that for most college students, there will be no full scholarship. Regardless of your child's skill level, it's important to establish a college fund early in life. Having a strong college plan in place will help maintain your loved ones' ability to pay for a place of higher education.

ScholarShare has the tools to make it easier than ever for anyone to contribute to their children's or loved ones' future college tuition costs. Through the "Give a Gift" option on its website, any gift giver can open an account for children of all ages or contribute to an existing account. Families interested in saving for college can check out ScholarShare's new online resource tools on their website. College savings specialists are available for phone and in-person consultations at no additional cost to answer all questions.

ScholarShare has been found to have one of the most affordable college savings plans in the country*. SavingForCollege.com found California as having one of the lowest-cost 529 investment options among nationally-available plans. Of all the states that offer their program to non-residents, ScholarShare had one of the most affordable options.

About the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan:
ScholarShare accounts may be opened online with as little as $25. ScholarShare has no annual account maintenance fee, no income limit and offers a high maximum contribution limit of $350,000. The program currently holds more than $4 billion in assets. More than 300,000 accounts have been opened since ScholarShare's inception. To sign up for an account or for more information about the plan, visit http://www.scholarshare.com/. For information about the SIB, visit www.treasurer.ca.gov/scholarshare. Follow ScholarShare on Twitter at @ScholarShare529.

Named for the section of IRS code under which they were created, 529 plans are highly regarded for their tax-advantaged status. Any earnings on investments can grow tax-deferred. Withdrawals, when used for tuition and other qualified higher education expenses, are federal and state income tax-free.

* Claim based on the 2012 Savingforcollege.com's 529 Fee Study which compared the lowest stock- or bond-based option with 10-year costs and expense totals for all direct-sold 529 savings plans. http://www.savingforcollege.com/529_fee_study/lowest.php

Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the ScholarShare 529 Plan. Please visit www.scholarshare.com for a Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Read it carefully.

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.

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 based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. Non‐qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax. Non-qualified withdrawals may also be subject to an additional 2.5% California tax on earnings.

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

The Scholar Share 529 College Savings Plan Twitter page is managed by the state of California.

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

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