Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg today urged Nebraska families to begin saving for their children’s education when their children are young through the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST), the state-sponsored 529 college savings program.
In remarks prepared for delivery at NESTFest in Wayne, Treasurer Stenberg said the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, known as NEST, offers four unique plans that make saving for college simple and affordable for Nebraskans and families across the United States. State-sponsored 529 plans take their name from Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
“We have one of the best college savings programs in the country right here in Nebraska,” Treasurer Stenberg said. “That’s why NEST has more than 214,000 accounts nationwide, including more than 61,000 accounts owned by Nebraskans.”
NESTFest festivities in Wayne were hosted by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST), First Nebraska Bank of Wayne, The State Bank & Trust Company, F&M Bank, and BankFirst. Also expected to speak was Wayne Mayor Ken Chamberlain. Bill Dickey, president of First National Bank of Wayne, was to have welcomed the crowd.
The free NESTFest activities included musical entertainment, dance performances, cheerleading exhibitions, face painting, and games. Among the featured entertainers was the kids band The String Beans. Similar festivities took place Saturday in Kearney. This is the fourth year for NESTFest.
“College savings plans like NEST help our children and grandchildren go to the college of their choice, whether that is a four-year college, a community college, or a technical school, either in Nebraska or another state or abroad,” said Treasurer Stenberg, who is Trustee of NEST.
“There are also tax advantages for Nebraska taxpayers. An account owner—either single or a married couple—who contributes to a NEST plan and files Nebraska state income tax can now deduct up to $10,000 of contributions per year or $5,000 per year if married filing separately. In addition, earnings on a NEST account are exempt from federal and Nebraska state income taxes if the account is used for qualified education expenses,” the Treasurer said.
In his prepared remarks, the Treasurer also urged families attending NESTFest to take advantage of the significant scholarship opportunities offered throughout the year by NEST.
“We offer essay contests like NEST on the Farm for children from farm and ranch families in the summer and an art contest, Draw Your Dreams, for aspiring artists in the fall,” Stenberg said. “In the spring we sponsor a writing contest for seventh and eighth graders on ‘Why I Want to Go to College.’ The winners in that contest will be recognized May 11 at Werner Park in Papillion.”
As part of the NESTFest celebration, NEST also is offering each new customer a $25 new account bonus to jump start a college savings plan account.
“NEST has been recognized by national experts as one of the top college savings plans in the nation,” said Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director of College Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha. First National Bank of Omaha is program manager of NEST.
“We’re extremely proud of the program and equally as proud of the commitment thousands of families have made to save for college and help create a bright future for their children. NESTFest is an opportunity to celebrate Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans and the many opportunities ahead for Nebraska’s youth,” Goodkin said.
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.