No one ever said saving for your child’s college education was easy.
After paying your bills, health care expenses and the mortgage, many times there’s not much left to put away for a rainy day, much less for higher education.
Many Louisiana students qualify for the TOPS Scholarship Program, but for some families it’s not enough to cover the increasing costs of college. That’s one reason why it’s so important for Louisiana residents to consider investing in the state’s START 529 College Savings Plan.
START now offers a new option that makes saving for college a little less difficult.
START is now offering and taking applications for a new BabyMint Visa card. The BabyMint Visa provides a 1 percent cash rebate on all card purchases and deposits the rebates into a cardholder’s START account. There is even a special promotion offering a $25 bonus into a member’s START account when they get the BabyMint Visa card.
The BabyMint Visa can help START account owners turn everyday purchases into dollars saved for higher education. Now you can save for college every time you shop whether you buy a book, a pizza or movie tickets. The card is a simple tool to assist START account owners in reaching their savings goals.
In addition to rebates from the BabyMint Visa, account owners can also take advantage of the START program’s other benefits.
This past year, fixed income investments in START earned a rate of return of 5.28 percent. Various investment options that included stocks earned between 5.56 percent and 15.52 percent.
On top of that, the state provides a 2 percent to 14 percent match, or earnings enhancement, on START deposits depending on your income.
Monies deposited from purchases on the BabyMint Visa will earn interest and earnings enhancements as well.
START also offers account owners a variety of income tax savings.
Deposits into a START account are deductible from income reported on Louisiana tax returns up to $2,400 per year, per account, or $4,800 per beneficiary if you file a joint tax return.
In addition, earnings are exempt from state and federal taxes when used to pay for tuition, books, supplies, and room and board at universities, community colleges or vo-tech schools.
START closed the year with 27,647 accounts and $174.9 million in assets. As a START account owner myself, I can honestly say Louisiana’s 529 Plan is a sound and innovative program for college savings. Now, with the new BabyMint Visa, START is an even easier way for someone to save for a child’s college education.
To learn more, visit www.latreasury.com and click “START.”