Fingers rolling over cubes to have date say February 29

Family and friends want to give gifts that make a positive impact throughout their loved ones’ lives. These gifts usually coincide with major holidays or special events like birthdays, graduations, Easter, Christmas, and baby showers. 

But most special occasions only come once a year or less. For instance, people who have a Leap Year birthday on February 29, their celebration only occurs every four years! And best wishes to your “leap-year baby” if they’re celebrating their first, second, third, or fourth birthday today.

These can add up to many missed opportunities to save in Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage.

Everyday 529 contributions

Be on the lookout for everyday moments to add for your children’s 529 higher education account. If there’s a little extra remaining in your checking account after paying all the bills for the month, roll it over to your 529 plan. Are you expecting a bonus or a raise at work? Consider taking the increase and directly depositing it into the college savings account. Are you getting a large income tax refund this year? Why not use part or all of it to add to your Ohio 529 account? 

Disappearing expenses are those costs in your budget for a limited time. For instance, preschool is a large disappearing expense for families. Once your child starts kindergarten, consider rolling over your former preschool or day care costs into regular contributions to your 529 account. You won’t miss it and you will continue to support your child’s educational needs.

Other disappearing expenses can include paying off a car loan, medical or dental bills, credit card debt, or even your own student loans. Once you have a zero balance on those obligations, you can roll those budgeted dollars into your child’s Ohio 529 plan instead. Again, these items have been part of your budget, so you aren’t losing any additional income by transferring those dollars to a 529 account. As you know from paying off those bills, it’s far cheaper to save now than pay off loans later.

Anyone can contribute to Ohio 529

87% of parents would rather get money for their children’s college over any other gift.* And 90% of grandparents would give money towards college savings if the parents asked.**

Ohio’s 529 Plan can help you and others with 529 Gift Central! The one-stop shopping site shows how a contribution of as little as $25 can grow with all the tax benefits that an Ohio 529 account offers. You or a loved one can contribute online, by mailing in a check directly to CollegeAdvantage, or opening an Ohio 529 account as a gift.

An easy-button gift-giving feature with Ohio’s 529 Plan is Ugift. Offered through Ascensus, our recordkeeping partner, Ugift is an innovative way to invite family and friends to save your children’s’ future college costs when celebrating holidays, birthdays, and special achievements with gift contributions to your CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 account.

Ugift makes it simple to have loved ones add to your child’s Ohio 529 plan without needing to share the actual account number. After logging in to your Ohio Direct 529 Plan, you can set up an Ugift code to send to our loved ones who would like to give the gift of a higher education. This code permits others to make online gift contributions directly to your CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan without your account number. Once you provide the Ugift code, friends and family can visit to make their electronic contribution securely from their bank account. It’s that easy.

If a gift giver is an Ohio taxpayer, they too can deduct up to $4,000 in contributions per beneficiary, per year, from their state taxable income, per contributor (married couple). Your loved one who lives in Ohio does not have to be the account owner to deduct their contributions from their State of Ohio taxable income. To take advantage of the state income tax deduction, the contribution must be made payable directly to your 529 account, not to your child.

Have gift givers who may prefer to contribute by check? Have them write a check payable to the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority, rather than the beneficiary, and give them your 11-digit account Ohio 529 account number to add to the memo line along with the beneficiary’s full name. The contributor can then mail it to our address:  CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Savings Plan, PO Box 219305, Kansas City, MO  64121-9305. Again, if the gift giver is a taxpayer in Ohio, they can deduct their own gift contributions from their state taxable income.

So, remember that while Feb. 29 comes once every four years, you don’t need to wait for special occasion to add to an Ohio 529 college savings account. Ohio’s 529 Plan covers qualified expenses at any four-year college or university, two-year community college, trade or vocational school, apprenticeship approved by the U.S. Labor Department, or certificate program nationwide that accepts federal financial aid. Learn, plan, and start for as little as $25 today at

*Source: Fidelity Investments “Gift-Giving Snapshot 2015.”

**Source: Fidelity Investments “Grandparents & College Savings Study, 2014.”

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