In 2015, CollegeAdvantage celebrated its 25th anniversary. In honor of this milestone, many longtime account owners shared their Saving Stories and how using CollegeAdvantage helped them achieve their goals. We are fortunate to have these encouraging stories of how families prioritized their children’s higher education and are sharing them again. 

My ongoing relationship with CollegeAdvantage began 25 years ago with the death of my beloved grandmother. When she passed at the age of 90, I was a young mother of two preschoolers teaching full time in Ohio's public schools and struggling to fit my own graduate school courses into my already overflowing life. I thought there might be just a small inheritance, knowing how hard she had struggled through the Depression, and had envisioned possibly being able to purchase and plant a commemorative tree. Much to my surprise she left me $2,000!

Always the person looking for a bargain; I had been paying close attention to the news about Ohio's new plan to help parents pay for college. And though there were sooooo many things I would have liked to buy with that "found" money, I knew that the best way to honor my grandmother's memory was (at this moment tears are literally streaming down my face reliving those feelings) was to invest in her great-grandchildren's future!

Money was always tight as I was raising my children and many times I was tempted, but I never touched that money. Ever. And it grew.

By the time my eldest had reached college age, her portion of that initial helped her to attend John Carroll University. But our story wasn't over yet. My daughter graduated from John Carroll University with a B.S. in Chemistry. Then she went on to earn another B.S. in Nursing at Ursuline College and is now pursuing a Masters in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Meanwhile CollegeAdvantage has been helping to finance her dreams every step of the way.

While her sister did not make the same use of her educational opportunities, I was able to transfer her CollegeAdvantage fund to her sister's account to continue to finance her education without penalty (yet another “advantage” of CollegeAdvantage)! And our story is not over yet!

I now have two grandchildren almost the same age as my daughters were when I started saving for them with CollegeAdvantage. For each of their first birthdays, I created accounts in their names with a substantial investment to each. As with the now two previous generations, accumulating a large initial investment was a struggle, but if there is ONE thing this family has always believed in it is education!

With each grandchild, I worked a second part-time job for an entire year to come up with that money to start each account, and I have every intention of doing it again for every grandchild I am blessed with. I also now contribute monthly to those two accounts while still continuing to pay into my daughter's account as she pursues her Masters in Nursing. And there is still one more piece to this story!

Every baby shower, birth announcement, and niece or nephew's birthday is celebrated with a contribution to CollegeAdvantage in their name. In the past year alone, we have delivered three CollegeAdvantage introductory packets to new parents with accompanying checks made out to the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority. We then explained the program to each of them and the audience of family and friends at their parties. Clothes and toys will be forgotten in a week; helping to pay for college will hopefully be remembered for a lifetime! And, the story continues... 

Denise Monsman

Mantua, Ohio

This Saving Story was originally published April ​30, 2015.
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