State Treasurer Don Stenberg is urging Nebraska families to begin saving for college when children are young and to look into the state tax benefits of saving through the Nebraska Educational Saving Trust (NEST).
The Treasurer, who is Trustee of NEST, offered the advice in recognition of 529 College Savings Day, a time set aside nationwide each May 29 to increase awareness of state-sponsored 529 college savings plans that take their name from Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The Treasurer will participate in radio interviews Wednesday to communicate his message to fellow Nebraskans.
“Higher education is one of the best lifetime investments a family can make,” Stenberg said. “At NEST we talk about children dreaming of their future and parents and grandparents saving for those dreams. I suggest you take time today to talk to your children about their educational goals and to discuss, as a family, how you will pay for the expenses associated with higher education, including tuition, books, class fees and housing. Look into NEST. You will find a variety of investment options depending on your needs and your investment priorities.”
Nationally assets in 529 savings plans total more than $170 billion, an increase of 25.6 percent in one year. The average account balance nationally is about $17,000. In Nebraska, assets in the four plans that make up NEST total more than $3 billion, as of March 31.
“Exceeding $3 billion in assets was a milestone for Nebraska’s college savings program. It reflects account holders’ confidence in our program, which is now 12 years old. This assures us that families trust NEST and are demonstrating that trust by opening new college savings accounts and continuing to contribute to their existing accounts,” Stenberg said.
Stenberg said he anticipates NEST assets will grow even more with the passage of LB296, a measure introduced by Sen. Galen Hadley in the 2013 legislative session that would increase the amount that can be deducted from state income tax from $5,000 to $10,000 for a single person or a married couple filing jointly. The bill was made a priority bill by Sen. Lydia Brasch and is on final reading in the Legislature.
The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust offers four college savings plans: the 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.
First National Bank of Omaha is the program manager, and investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council.
“We have one of the best college savings programs in the country right here in Nebraska,” Stenberg said. “That’s why more than 203,000 families nationwide—including 55,000 Nebraska families—are saving for college with NEST plans. We are very proud of our NEST college savings plans and the value they provide for families looking for responsible and effective ways to save for college.”
Interesting facts about 529 college savings programs, including NEST, follow:
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 260,000 accounts, including 83,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.