Save for college

by Michelle Saport  |   

20130905-college-savings-plan-monthWith school back in session, September is a great time to celebrate College Savings Plan Month-a national event designed to encourage families to evaluate or establish a college savings account.

The UA College Savings Plan is a top-ranked 529 plan, offering investments that grow tax deferred, and earnings that are tax-free if used for qualified education expenses. Alaska residents can add their Permanent Fund Dividend directly to the plan, and those who contribute half of their dividend to the plan are automatically entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $25,000 scholarship account or one of four $2,500 scholarship accounts.

Participants can also build their accounts through monthly payroll deduction contributions. "Payroll deduction is a convenient way for university employees to fund their college savings accounts," said Lael Oldmixon, director of the UA College Savings Plan. "The employee tuition waiver is a wonderful employee benefit, but tuition represents only about half the cost of an education. Families need to plan for other costs such as room, board and fees."

To participate in payroll deduction, employees should first set up an account in the UA College Savings Plan. Register online at or by calling (800) 478-0003. Then, fill out the Salary Reduction form and return it to the Human Resources office. Everyone who signs up for payroll deduction will receive a complimentary canvas tote bag.

Oldmixon also encourages participants "to review their investments and increase their systematic contributions whenever possible." Visit for more information about saving for college, including a college cost calculator.

If you would prefer to talk to someone in person, the plan has an office in Fairbanks  (Butrovich Building, Suite 207) and Anchorage (Bragaw Office Building, Suite 209).

Follow the UA College Savings Plan on Facebook and watch for updates about upcoming events and tips throughout September.

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