Gov. Dave Heineman encouraged families to begin saving for their children’s higher education through the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) in a proclamation issued today celebrating September as College Savings Month in Nebraska.
The governor signed the proclamation in a ceremony in the Warner Chamber in the Capitol. With him for the proclamation signing were Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, Trustee of NEST; David Cota, senior managing director of First National Bank of Omaha. First National Bank is program manager for NEST.
“With schools back in session and college students returning to campuses across Nebraska and the nation, September is an ideal time for the Treasurer’s Office to promote the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, the state-sponsored 529 college savings program,” State Treasurer Stenberg said. State-sponsored 529 programs take their name from Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
“Nebraska has an excellent college savings program that provides significant state and federal tax incentives for investors from across income levels. Our program has experienced steady growth with assets exceeding $3 billion in more than 206,000 accounts. More than 58,000 of those accounts are in Nebraska,” Stenberg said. “Our goal is to make sure Nebraskan families know about NEST and know how easy it is to select a plan and set up an account for one child or for several children.”
"College Savings Month is a great time to encourage families to begin saving and to build awareness of the excellent offerings NEST provides,” said David Cota, senior managing director of First National Bank of Omaha, program manager for the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust. "We are proud to serve as program manager for NEST and help families reach their college savings goals.”
Other activities highlighting College Savings Month in Nebraska include 3rd annual NESTFests set for Sept. 28 in Blair and Lincoln and Oct. 6 in Wayne. The outdoor festivals feature family activities and provide opportunities for families to learn more about NEST. The NESTFest events are sponsored by First National Bank of Omaha and local banks in the three communities.
Treasurer Stenberg also will be awarding a $529 college savings account Sept. 19 to the winner of a drawing offered earlier this month at the Treasurer’s booth at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island.
A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged investment plan designed to encourage saving for the future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary. Withdrawals from 529 plans for qualified education expenses, including tuition, books and some board and room expenses, are free from federal and state income tax. In Nebraska’s program, account holders who are Nebraska taxpayers are eligible for up to $5,000 a year in state tax deductions.
Assets in the accounts can be used at four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, technical schools, and graduate schools in the United States and in some other countries.
The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust is made up of four savings plans to match investors’ preferences and savings strategies – 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 the State Treasurer is the program trustee. All investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council.
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.