HARTFORD, Conn., Aug. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier and the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) are celebrating National College Savings Month this September by offering parents a free CHET college savings starter kit. And throughout the month, CHET -- the state's 529 college savings plan -- will host a series of webinars and events and provide a special goody bag for new babies born during the month of September.
The savings starter kit contains a parenting book, a CHET squeeze football, a CHET string bag, and a CHET 529 enrollment packet. Parents can go to www.aboutchet.com/college to register to receive the kit.
"With the costs of a college education continuing to rise, it's more important than ever that families start saving early, which will allow their investment to grow over time," said Treasurer Nappier, Trustee of CHET.
"Creating a savings plan and sticking with it will help to ease the financial burden faced by families down the road while enabling their child to follow their dreams of obtaining a college education," Treasurer Nappier added.
Individuals can participate in one of three online webinars -- on September 2 and September 16 (in English) and September 17 (in Spanish). Sign-up online at www.aboutchet.com/community.
CHET will be at the following events, with information and handouts, and a representative present to answer any questions:
- September 6th & 7th: Comcast Women's Expo, Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford
- September 15th: WEBE 108 Boomers & Beyond, Trumbull Marriott
- September 18th: Willimantic Fest, Willimantic
- September 21st: Telemundo Feria de la Familia, XL Center, Hartford
- September 26th: Bridgeport Hispanic Business Expo, Margaret Morton Government Center, Bridgeport
In addition, in partnership with hospitals across Connecticut, CHET will provide goody bags to parents who welcome new babies to their family during the month of September. The bags contain a piggy bank, onesie, CHET enrollment kit, including information on the new CHET Baby Scholars initiative, and the parenting book.
The "Parenting Tips A-Z" book, which has been endorsed by the Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, offers parents trusted bits of wisdom from experts to help them navigate the early childhood years. The book also contains information to help parents start saving for their child's college education.
Getting Started on a College Savings Plan
CHET offers an online College Savings Planner to help families save for college. The free tool assists families in determining how much various colleges and universities across the country might cost, what their different college funding sources might be, how much they should save, and how those savings might grow by the time their children go to college.
When families are finished completing the planner, they are able to print out their own Personal College Savings Planner to refer to on an ongoing basis. To access the tool, visit www.aboutchet.com/planning/calculate.shtml.
CHET offers a number of other tools and services from automatic deposits to e-Gifting, which allows family and friends to help loved ones save for college, all designed to make saving for college easier and more manageable for families.
The CHET 529 college savings plan is managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. and The Hartford. It was established in 1997, and has grown to $2.5 billion in assets and more than 100,000 accounts. More than $815 million in qualified withdrawals have been taken to cover college costs for approximately 25,700 students.
The State of Connecticut offers CHET to help families save for future college costs. Funds deposited into a CHET account have tax advantages and can be used at accredited colleges and universities across the country, including vocational and technical schools, and some colleges abroad.
Connecticut residents are allowed to deduct 529 contributions from their state income taxes -- up to $5,000 for an individual or up to $10,000 for a married couple filing jointly. As with all 529 plans, investment earnings are exempt from state and federal taxes if used for qualified educational expenses.
For more information about CHET, visit www.aboutchet.com or call the customer service center at (866) 314-3939. Find us on Facebook (facebook.com/CHETcollegesavings) or follow us on Twitter (@CHET529).
Director of Communications
SOURCE Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET)