Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy today proclaimed September as College Savings Month in Nebraska. On hand for the proclamation were State Treasurer Don Stenberg, Trustee of the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust; Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director of College Savings Plans for First National Bank of Omaha; and Eric Hoiekvam, Operations Manager for College Savings Plans for First National Bank of Omaha.
The proclamation ceremony took place in the Warner Chamber of the State Capitol.
“Our children and our state deserve the brightest futures possible. Saving early for college is one way parents, grandparents, and friends can help young people reach their potential and live their dreams. A well educated workforce is also one way to help Nebraska achieve its potential and meet the challenging demands of the future,” said State Treasurer Stenberg.
“First National Bank of Omaha remains committed to the success of the communities we serve, and we are proud to partner with the Treasurer’s Office to educate Nebraskans about the importance of saving for college,” said Goodkin. “With the proclamation of September as College Savings Month, now is the perfect time for parents and grandparents to start thinking about the costs associated with college and create a realistic savings plan.”
College Savings Month, which is being recognized across the country, is devoted to increasing awareness among parents and grandparents about the importance of saving for the college expenses of their children and grandchildren. Aunts, uncles, godparents, and family friends also may find opportunities to save for important young people in their lives through the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust. More than 52,000 families in Nebraska and more than 180,000 nationwide are saving for their children’s higher education expenses through NEST, Nebraska’s tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan.
The month is being recognized in Nebraska by the following events and scholarship opportunities:
Together, the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office and First National Bank of Omaha, the program manager for the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust, will have awarded more than $88,000 in scholarship funds to 67 children by the end of 2011. Of that total, more than $81,000 comes from First National Bank. These totals could change if additional scholarship opportunities become available in 2011.
“The scholarships demonstrate our commitment to education and to helping young people look forward to bright futures, not only in Nebraska but across the United States,” Stenberg said.
Another recent development in the Nebraska College Savings Plan Trust is the addition of an FDIC-insured savings account. The investment option, which was approved Aug. 17 by the Nebraska Investment Council, will become available to investors Oct. 17.
“The new option provides a very conservative, safe investment choice for families wanting to save for their children’s college educations,” Stenberg said. “It will be most attractive to parents whose children are about ready to start college or are already in college and to grandparents who are seeking secure investment opportunities for their grandchildren’s future educational expenses.”
The Bank Savings Individual Investment Option, as the new FDIC-insured savings account will be known, will be available through two of the plans in the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust – the NEST Direct College Savings Plan and the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan. The new option has extremely low annual asset-based fees at 0.20 percent and no minimum contribution.
NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 261,000 accounts, including 84,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.