The Edmond Sun

Education

March 24, 2014

Parents want children to attend college, but few save for it

Edmond couple investing in Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan

EDMOND — A large majority of Oklahoma parents and grandparents — 86 percent — believe it is “very important” that their child or grandchild attends college according to a recent opinion poll conducted by ShapardResearch.

Edmond residents, Jenifer and her husband, Marty Standish, are among that 86 percent group. Jenifer said her children, Blakeley, 3, and Brigham, a 1-year-old, are expected to go to college and they are investing each month in the Oklahoma 529 Savings Plan.

“If they decide not to go then the savings is transferable and can be given to grandchildren or someone who wants to go to college and needs help,” Jenifer said. “Hopefully, though, it will be my children who will be using it.”

The survey results show Oklahoma parents and grandparents do understand the importance and value in children pursuing higher education. However, only 43 percent have started investing or saving for their child’s or grandchild’s college education expenses.

The opinion poll, conducted via landline and cell phone to 401 Oklahoma households, revealed that half of Oklahoma’s parents and grandparents believe a regular savings account is just as good as a college savings plan when asked about their saving options for college expenses. But, when looking for a college savings plan, 71 percent of those polled said tax advantages were a “very important” characteristic and 60 percent were not aware the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan offered tax advantages.

She said both she and her husband worked through high school and she received the President’s Leadership Scholarship at the University of Central Oklahoma as well as some other scholarship monies for grades when she was ready to go to college.

Jenifer said she was a little wary when first starting her research on how to save for her children’s education.

In Jenifer and Marty’s case, they looked at both the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

State Treasurer Ken Miller, who serves as board chairman for the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan, says the poll results reveal parents and grandparents know the value of a college education for their child or grandchild, but are not fully informed on the great options to save for their child’s or grandchild’s higher education. Miller encourages parents and grandparents to look at all possibilities when planning for college expenses for the future.

There are tax advantages to be had today by investing in future college education expenses. Contributions made to an Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan by April 15 qualify for a 2013 Oklahoma income tax deduction.

OCSP funds can be used for tuition, mandatory fees, books, supplies and equipment required for enrollment and attendance, certain room and board costs and certain expenses for special needs students.

According to the University of Oklahoma website, www.ou.edu, tuition and fees for 30 credit hours would cost an estimated $8,915.50 attending as a Sooner.

Oklahoma State University’s website, www.okstate.edu, shows that attending OSU would cost an estimated $8,190.00 for 30 credit hours, for tuition and fees.

The Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan is a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing Inc. The Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan currently has more than $594 million in total assets and more than 53,000 accounts, as of Jan. 31.

Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the Oklahoma College Savings Plan. Call toll-free 877-654-7284 for a disclosure booklet containing this information.  

FOR MORE information about the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan or to open an account, visit the website at www.ok4saving.org. Find Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Oklahoma529 and Twitter at https://twitter.com/OCSP529.

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