COLLEGE SAVINGS: Rotary members learn of college savings

COLUMBIA CITY — College Choice 529 is the name of the state of Indiana’s plan to help parents and students prepare for the high costs of a college education. Jodi Golden, executive director of the Indiana Education Savings Authority (ESA), was the speaker at the latest Rotary Club meeting.She was introduced by Rotarian Dick Buchanan, who is a member of ESA’s board of directors. Golden’s main focus was to inform the group of the benefits of the College Choice 529 program.She started off by giving the current statistics of the realities of a college education in today’s numbers.“The average increase of tuition and fees is six percent for a public four-year school,” she said. Currently, 58 percent of college students are on loans while in school. That also means that the student loan debt exceeds the nation’s credit card debt of over 100 trillion dollars,” said Golden.According to Golden, the average student debt is $25,250, and the average student in Indiana owes $27,001. Sixty-two percent of Indiana college graduates still owe on their student loans. With interest figured in, a $17,000 loan will require a $24,942 payback at eight percent over a 10 year period.”Golden said, “There’s hope with the 529 plan of prepaying for college. This can be done by practically anyone at any time.”The plan has the advantage of tax-deferred earnings, tax-free, qualified withdrawals, control over how assets are used. There are also gift-tax and estate planning benefits.“The plan allows a family or person to make their money work smarter,”said Golden. Golden said she is proud that this program is both affordable, and tax-smart. “It is also flexible with its range of investment options where you can choose an investment that fits your financial goals. It can be easily handled by a payroll deduction plan through your work with a minimum of $25 payment.”Another option is the “upromise” program whereby families can earn money through purchases, shopping on line, restaurants and many more places.To learn more about this program visit