Grant Hewitt: Go to college, but don’t go broke
The semantics of saving for college are stressful enough to push aside and forget about, but it’s easier than you think. The Nevada State Treasurer’s Office has programs in place that help Nevada students succeed.
The first step is already done for you if you have had a kindergarten student enrolled in a Nevada public school since the fall of 2013. The College Kick Start Program is the first of its kind, offering an automatic initial deposit of $50 into your children’s savings account for your kindergarten student the moment they’re registered for school. From there, you can easily open a SSGA Upromise 529 account.
By starting now, saving for college can be easy and affordable. There are additional programs that will match contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $300 per year, with a cap of $1,500 over five years. To see if you qualify, read more on the Silver State Matching Grant Program or the USAA Distinguished Valor Matching Grant.
Another way of reducing college education expenses is by being a good student. The Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship is a $10,000 award that’s distributed on a per-credit basis, up to 15 credits per semester. To be awarded the scholarship, students must graduate with an unweighted or weighted GPA of 3.25 or receive a qualified score on a college entrance exam. The student must initially maintain a 2.6 GPA for continuing eligibility. The semester during which a student’s total enrolled credits reach 30 or more, and every semester thereafter, the student must maintain a 2.75 GPA to continue receiving Millennium funds.
Finally, with the Nevada Prepaid Tuition Program, you can lock in the cost of today’s in-state tuition by purchasing contract community college or university level credit hours. There are varying payment options and prices depending on your choice of community college plan, university plan or a combination of the two. To qualify, the purchaser or beneficiary must be a Nevada resident. Contracts may be purchased for newborns and students up to ninth grade having not reached the age of 18 at the time of enrollment, plans may also be applicable to eligible out of state public and private universities. Open enrollment ends March 31; visit Nevada Prepaid Tuition and enroll now.
By spending a little time setting up your savings now, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of worry and a lot of money in the future. More information about these and other programs can be found at http://www.nv529.org/.
Grant Hewitt is chief of staff at the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office.