State Treasurer Don Stenberg said today he is very pleased with the success of Nebraska’s college savings plans over the past 12 months.
Total assets in the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) increased 15 percent from $2,682,719,985 to $3,085,340,881 between June 30, 2012, and June 30, 2013, Stenberg reported.
For that same time period, the total number of accounts increased by 6.52 percent from 193,961 to 206,603, and the average account size increased 8.24 percent from $13,900 to $15,045.
For the first six months of 2013, a total of $182,947,598 was deposited in NEST accounts, which represents an increase of 18.78 percent when compared with the first six months of 2012.
“These results reflect the success of our ongoing efforts to make Nebraskans more aware of the opportunity to gain tax advantages while saving for college for their children and grandchildren,” Stenberg said.
“These results also reflect good investment returns over the last 12 months for NEST, an improving economy, and greater awareness of the part of parents and grandparents of the need to begin saving for college right now,” Stenberg said. Other factors contributing to the growth in NEST accounts, he said, have been the outreach activities undertaken by the Treasurer’s Office and First National Bank of Omaha, the program manager. Among those activities are writing contests, significant scholarship awards, media interviews, in-school presentations, NESTFests in several Nebraska communities, and bonuses for new accounts offered by First National Bank, he said.
“We appreciate all the families in Nebraska and across the nation who have put their trust in Nebraska’s excellent 529 college savings program. We work hard every day to make sure our plans are worthy of that trust,” Stenberg said.
Stenberg encouraged Nebraskans who already have NEST accounts to increase their contributions to better prepare for the rising costs associated with higher education. And he encouraged young families to start early to save. “Nebraskans are finding that an investment in a NEST college savings account is a perfect way to celebrate the birth of a child or a grandchild or a first birthday or some other significant milestone in a child’s life,” Stenberg said.
Treasurer Stenberg is Trustee of NEST, the state’s 529 college savings program which takes its name from Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. First National Bank of Omaha is Program Manager. Investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust is made up of four college savings plans: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and State Farm College Savings Plan.
Of the 206,603 NEST account owners nationwide, 58,150 of them are Nebraskans.
Families interested in opening NEST accounts, should go to www.treasurer.org and click on the College Savings tab or call the Treasurer’s Office at 402-471-1088.