SOURCE: ScholarShare

ScholarShare

August 09, 2012 12:56 ET

Start the New School Year Off Right With Smart Savings

During "Back to School" Season, Set Aside a Little Money to Plan for Future College Costs With ScholarShare 529 College Savings Account

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 9, 2012) - ScholarShare, California's 529 college savings program, always looks forward to the beginning of a new school year. However, "Back to School" time can be stressful for parents as the cost for each child's school supplies continues to grow. A survey by National Retail Federation* says that families of students in grades K-12 will spend on average $688.62 this year on "Back to School" supplies. With college tuition costs rapidly rising, spending all those resources now could hurt a family's ability to eventually pay for their child's future college tuition. Instead of buying another set of new clothes, put aside some spending in a 529 account; it might help you pay for your child's future college one day.

ScholarShare wants every student to be able to afford higher education, so the first step in helping your child take one large step closer to their goal is by opening a college fund that can help lower the amount of money they'll have to borrow in the future. It takes only $25 to open a brand new college savings account -- that could be one less pair of jeans now, for some college savings later.

Many families have grown to bear the burden of college tuition costs, but fees are rising higher than what most hard-working families are able to afford. To secure higher education, many aspiring students are forced to turn to various student loans. It is becoming clear that the amount of money needed to borrow is beginning to outgrow future earnings for most graduates. This could affect their ability to purchase back to school supplies for your grandchildren. Establishing a college fund early in life can help maintain your loved ones' ability to pay for college without hampering their future.

ScholarShare has the tools to make it easier than ever for anyone to contribute to their child's or loved ones' future college tuition costs. Families interested in saving for college can check out ScholarShare's new online resource tools on their website. And 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. College savings specialists are available for phone and in-person consultations to answer questions.

ScholarShare offers flexible features for anyone interested in starting a college savings plan. Any US citizen, or resident alien with a valid Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number, can open a new account on behalf of a beneficiary. Funds can be used at any eligible educational institution in the nation, and some abroad, for a variety of qualified higher education expenses, including mandatory fees, books, supplies, or even certain room and board costs.

About the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan:
ScholarShare accounts may be opened with as little as $25 per investment portfolio. 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 $4.4 billion in assets as of 6/30/2012. More than 310,000 accounts have been opened since ScholarShare's inception in 1999. 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. Like ScholarShare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scholarshare529 and follow us 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.

*National Retail Federation, July 19, 2012 http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=1405

Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan. Please visit www.scholarshare.com for a Program 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.

Investments in the Program are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss.

The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan Twitter and Facebook pages are managed by the state of California.

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

C5989