Grant Hewitt: Education is for everyone | NevadaAppeal.com

Grant Hewitt: Education is for everyone

Grant Hewitt

As the cost of living and higher education continues to skyrocket, Nevada families are faced with tough choices to make when it comes to how to effectively budget for their future. Those who are facing problems like expensive child care, finding affordable housing, rising health care costs, and juggling day to day expenses are much less likely to think about saving for their child's college education.

However, climbing the economic ladder is possible and education can help a child do that. Pursuing their studies and chasing their biggest dreams after high school is possible. Although it's true a college degree leads to higher-paying jobs, what if a student and their family can't afford college? If you look at either of Nevada's Tier 1 universities, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the University of Nevada, Reno, in-state tuition and fees are close to $8,000 per year and then add on the cost of books, materials, living, and transportation. While relatively inexpensive compared to neighboring California schools and other prestigious colleges across the country, $8,000-plus might still be more than a family can afford.

The Nevada State Treasurer's Office offers several savings programs for every budget that help make many avenues of higher education possible. Parents should start talking with their children early on in their lives about what they want to be when they grow up and dedicate themselves to a plan so they can make that happen. Higher education is for everyone. That's the message from the Nevada State Treasurer's Office.

Planning and time matters. The State Treasurer's Office has made planning and saving for college as easy as can be by offering several college savings plans for every budget, and they're encouraging families to take advantage of these programs sooner rather than later. After all, with compound interest and tax free distributions on earnings when used for higher education costs, 529 college savings plans are a great savings vehicle for families.

The enrollment period for the Nevada Silver State Matching Grant Program, a benefit of the SSGA Upromise 529 Plan, is open until July 31. To qualify, you and your beneficiary must be Nevada residents, your beneficiary must be 13 or younger, and your household income must be $74,999 or less. If you meet these qualifications and are approved for the program, your contributions will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $300 a year, for a maximum of five years. That's $1,500 in free money that will go directly into your child's college savings account. Hurry, this program doesn't have unlimited funding, and will be awarded annually until the maximum funding is reached.

If your child is dreaming of college, help them get there, and let the Nevada State Treasurer's Office help you. Higher education is an attainable goal, and if you're ready to start planning for your child's college fund, visit http://www.NV529.org and get started today.

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Grant Hewitt is the chief of staff for the Office of the Nevada State Treasurer.