• 66°
franklin county times

Counting the cost

Trace, Miles and Isaac Duboise are already thinking about college – or at least, their parents are. By the time these boys are ready for higher education, they will each have a well-funded 529 account.
Trace, Miles and Isaac Duboise are already thinking about college – or at least, their parents are. By the time these boys are ready for higher education, they will each have a well-funded 529 account.

By Alison James

alison.james@fct.wpengine.com

 

It might seem hard to imagine planning for college when one’s children are still in elementary school, but Jamie Duboise and her family are doing just that.

Duboise, of Russellville, began depositing funds to save for her three children’s college costs after winning a CollegeCounts Alabama’s 529 Fund cash prize giveaway.

“It’s just going to be very expensive,” said Dubois, whose children’s ages range within 3.5 years of one another. “We knew we needed to start saving now … We’re trying just to save up and be prepared.”

Information provided by CollegeCounts reveals the following: “According to The College Board – Trends in College Pricing report, annual tuition, fees and room and board at a public two-year, in-state institution has increased to an average of $11,050. For those same expenses at a public four-year, in-state institution, that increase was to an average of $18,940 for a year.”

Duboise said it was important to her and her husband to begin saving money as quickly as possible for those future college endeavors.

“This was just a really safe option,” said Duboise, who chose to open CollegeCounts 529 accounts after researching various options. “You’re making a small investment and getting a lot back.”

Duboise joins thousands of account holders across the state – 35,819 accounts with $546 million in assets, according to information provided by the state treasury. The major advantage to CollegeCounts – over other investment options – are tax advantages. Under the 529 Section of the tax code, special tax benefits are provided to families saving for future college expenses. Alabama taxpayers may receive a state income tax deduction of up to $5,000 ($10,000 for married couples filing jointly) on contributions to CollegeCounts each year. CollegeCounts has no minimum contribution requirements to open an account or to keep adding to an existing account, allowing families to open accounts and save a little each month through quality investment funds.

“It’s simple to manage through direct deposits and automatic payroll deductions,” said Duboise. She said they barely miss the chunk of money they invest, by pulling those funds out of their paycheck up front. “It is also a safe investment option for us and our money, which really drew us to the plan.”

Alabama State Treasurer Young Boozer had this to say: “Alabama’s CollegeCounts 529 Fund was designed to help families save for college while at the same time benefit from the program’s various tax advantages and benefits. The first step for any family is to determine how much – no matter how small or large – the initial investment will be. From that point forward, we encourage contributing frequently to build additional funds for future college expenses.”

Funds may be withdrawn and used at colleges, universities, trade schools and graduate schools at one-, two- and four-year institutions in Alabama and across the nation.

“It’s good to plan for their little futures because they grow up faster than we think,” said Dubois, whose youngest will join her two older children at East Franklin in fall 2016. “I don’t want my kids to graduate college and have so much debt they can’t even enjoy life.”

To learn more about the 529 program and how to open an account, visit CollegeCounts529.com.

 

 

 

x