It's never too early to start saving for an education.
Colorado legislature and CollegeInvest, a non-profit arm of the government, are serious about funding education in the future. Through a program called First Steps, all U.S. citizens (and those with social security and federal tax numbers) are eligible to receive $100 to set up a child's college fund. The one-time funds come entirely from CollegeInvest, and no taxpayer dollars are part of the program.
"Children ages 12 to 18 who have a college savings account are twice as likely to expect to go to college as those who do not have a college savings account. Knowing this, the Colorado legislature passed a bill in the 2019 session that creates Child Starter Accounts (CSA), giving every child born or adopted in Colorado a $100 contribution to their CollegeInvest 529 college savings account," says CollegeInvest.
Kids born or adopted into Colorado staring January 1, 2020, are eligible to receive the $100 for college savings. Parents only need to start a 529 savings account with CollegeInvest (no money down needed) to get the process rolling.
"First, open a NEW CollegeInvest 529 Savings Account naming the child as the Beneficiary. Next, apply for the program. You will need the account number of the CollegeInvest account you just opened, and a copy or PDF of their birth certificate (or adoption documents). Click on the APPLY NOW button in the reference section above. If you and the Beneficiary meet all of the eligibility requirements, you will be notified by email from CollegeInvest and the $100 contribution will be deposited in your CollegeInvest account within 30 business days," says the organization, adding you will also be notified if you are ineligible.
The savings and earnings from the account grow free, contributions to the account are eligible for state tax deductions, and the savings can be used an almost any college, university, community college, trade school, or vocational program.
While the interest accrued on the $100 of savings won't be enough to pay for an entire college education, the idea is to get families started on the path to saving. Every little bit that can be set aside helps, and any contributions to the account only help savings multiply.
More information is available at collegeinvest.org. Applications will be accepted beginning Feb. 18 and will continue on a rolling basis.