In a national campaign launched March 4, Alabama State Treasurer John McMillan joined 27 other states in trying to address student debt before students are struggling from it.
The campaign is called “For Their Future Movement” and aims to increase awareness of 529 college saving plans and prevent mountains of student debt with 529 College Savings Plans Network.
“More than 44 million Americans have student debt that eats away at paychecks, limits opportunities and leads them to put off buying homes and having children,” said National 529 Campaign Chairman Young Boozer III. “On March 4, we start our march forth, joining together to set our kids and grandkids on a better path with 529s.”
The state’s program for college savings is called CollegeCounts and offers tax advantages for Alabama residents. The savings are developed and grown from federal and state income taxes. It allows tax-free withdrawals, as long as the funds are used for specific educational reasons. There is no minimum deposit for the program, and it allows others to donate funds to the account as well.
The program started in 2005 and now has over 92,000 accounts helping students save for college.
“We hope that through this national campaign, we can bring awareness that our CollegeCounts program can aid in preventing student debt,” said McMillan. “Citizens recognize and associate a 401(k) plan as a savings program for retirement. We hope that Alabamians will soon hear ‘529’ and immediately think ‘college savings.’ ”