HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Kansas State Treasurer's office has partnered with American Century Investment Management, Inc. to offer the Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program.
"If we don't plan, with the increasing costs of college, it starts to take options off the table," said Kansas State Treasurer Steven Johnson. "We want to help Kansas families to prepare, so that whatever the best education route for their student is, it is something they are able to do, that they don't have to rely on debt. Just in Kansas, student debt tops $12 billion. The average student is $32,000 in debt. We don't want that to have to be the central cornerstone, where someone is starting out with that liability. This is just a great way to plan ahead."
Money from a 529 plan can be used for more than just traditional college tuition.
"While it is college savings month and we want to celebrate that, with the 529 plan, it can now be used for K-12 tuition," Johnson said. "It can be used for tuition or tools at vocational school. My nephew worked with diesel mechanic school. You could use that to buy those tools that are required to get through that program and actually be set up for the beginning of your career, all the way through graduate school. Whatever those expenses are, that's what that account is geared to fund."
You can find out more about the approved 529 plan for Kansas online.
"We partner with American Century," Johnson said. "It's the Learning Quest 529 for Kansas. LearningQuest.com/info is the place to answer your questions, get signed up and you can start an account today. Every contribution is deductible, up to $3000 against your state income tax in Kansas for each beneficiary. It's a great immediate tax planning tool. It grows tax-deferred. It's taken out tax free for qualified educational expenses that we've been talking about."
The cost of college has steadily increased over the last 30 years. In that timeframe, tuition costs at public four-year colleges grew from $4,160 to $10,740 and from $19,360 to $38,070 at private nonprofit institutions.