Dan Schwartz: Reduce college costs with Silver State Matching Grant program | NevadaAppeal.com

Dan Schwartz: Reduce college costs with Silver State Matching Grant program

Dan Schwartz

Although saving for college may be daunting, the Nevada State Treasurer's Office is here to help families get started. We created the Silver State Matching Grant program, in partnership with the SSGA Upromise 529 Plan, to make saving for college for you and your family easier and more effective.

The job market is becoming increasingly competitive and obtaining a college education has never been more vital for your child's future. We understand how difficult it can be when the average cost of tuition and fees are anywhere from $10,000 to $33,480 (http://www.collegedata.com/cs/content/content_payarticle_tmpl.jhtml?articleId=10064). Those prices may nearly double if your child is accepted at an out-of-state school or an Ivy League institution.

For parents and students looking to help cover the costs of college, student loans appear to be a decent option. However, they generally result in being a burden that gradually gets worse over time. The most recent reports from 2017 show there's currently $1.44 trillion in outstanding U.S. student loan debt, which is impacting 44.2 million Americans and the average monthly loan payment is $351 (https://studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-statistics/). Depending on the repayment plan, paying off this debt could take anywhere from 10 to 25 years.

Thankfully, we have some good news for you! More families have started saving for college than ever before; 57 percent in 2016, compared to 50 percent in 2013 (https://www.salliemae.com/research/how-america-saves-for-college/). According to SallieMae.com, the average amount saved in a 529 plan is $7,534. The Silver State Matching Grant maximizes your savings by matching your contributions dollar-for-dollar for up to $300 per calendar year, and up to a lifetime maximum of $1,500 over five years.

To qualify for the Silver State Matching Grant, the beneficiary and applicant must be Nevada residents, adjusted gross income must not exceed $74,999, and beneficiary must be 13 years old or younger as of Dec. 31, 2017. The applicant must also have an SSGA Upromise 529 Plan; if you don't already have one, sign up by visiting http://www.nv529.org/.

Online applications must be submitted and received on or before July 31. However, you have until Dec. 31 to save the money you want matched, up to $300. To access the online portal, visit https://www.ssga.upromise529.com/home/nevada-benefits/silver-state-matching-grant.html.

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Explore the many other college saving options the state offers, such as the Nevada Prepaid Tuition Program, Putnam 529 for America, the Vanguard 529 Plan, Wealthfront College Savings and the USAA 529 College Savings Plan.

To learn more about Nevada College Savings and how you can start saving for your child's future today, visit our website http://www.nv529.org/, or call 702-486-6980 or 888-477-2667 today.

Dan Schwartz is the Nevada State Treasurer.

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