NEW YORK, Sept. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- To raise awareness of the benefits of state 529 college savings plans and to help one student's dreams come true, TIAA-CREF today announced the launch of the Big Dreams Start Small $100,000 College Fund Contest.
The winner will receive $100,000 contributed to a state 529 college savings account for their grandchild or child sponsored by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc.1 The contest is part of AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF, which aims to educate individuals, particularly grandparents, about the benefits of saving for college.
With the costs of higher education continuing to rise and families facing tighter budgets, saving for college has become an extended family affair, with students increasingly looking not only to their parents, but to their grandparents as well to find the funds to attend college. According to the Financial Research Corp., which tracks contributions to 529 plans, nearly 10 percent of contributions made to state 529 college savings plans are from grandparents, a substantial increase from previous years.2
"Today's college students are in a much different, and more difficult financial position than any previous generation of students," said Roger W. Ferguson Jr., president and chief executive officer, TIAA-CREF. "It's admirable that parents and grandparents today are playing a more active role in helping loved ones fulfill their long-term goals and college dreams, and TIAA-CREF is pleased to provide education and tools to help them make informed decisions along the way."
Research has shown that children with a college savings account are seven times more likely to attend college than those without an account.3
"The message is simple —small contributions today can make a big difference in your child's or grandchild's future education both in terms of his or her intent to attend and ability to pay," said Regina Lewis, consumer trend expert, author and mother of three. "A one-time $100 contribution to a 529 plan, with 5 percent interest compounded annually, would more than double over 15 years. If you were to add $25 every month to that $100, you would end up with nearly $7,000 after 15 years."4
A grandparent or parent can enter the contest by submitting an original photo showing his or her grandchild or child "dreaming big," including a caption of 140 characters or fewer explaining how that child "dreams big." The contest begins Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, and runs through Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. For official rules, details on how to enter the contest, as well as restrictions and tax consequences, visit https://bigdreams.aarpcollegesavings.com/.
"We're excited that AARP members can make a positive impact on their children's and grandchildren's lives by contributing to their college savings and helping them prepare for higher education," said John Wider, CEO of AARP Services, Inc. "529 plans are a great way to get the entire family involved in helping to fulfill those future college dreams. While the contest communicates an important message, it also adds a bit of fun into the mix. "
For more information on state 529 college savings plans, visit AARP College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF.
TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) is one of the largest and longest-tenured service providers to state 529 college savings plans in the country. TFI successfully provides program management services to 11 state-sponsored 529 college savings plans, including California, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin.
TIAA-CREF (www.tiaa-cref.org) is a national financial services organization with $523 billion in assets under management (as of 6/30/2013) and is the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Espanol, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
About AARP Services, Inc.
AARP Services, Inc., founded in 1999, is a wholly-owned taxable subsidiary of AARP. AARP Services manages the provider relationships for and performs quality control oversight of the wide range of products and services that carry the AARP name and are made available by independent providers as benefits to AARP's millions of members. The provider offers currently span health products, financial products, travel and leisure products, and life event services. Specific products include Medicare supplemental insurance; credit cards, auto and home, mobile home and motorcycle insurance, life insurance and annuities; member discounts on rental cars, cruises, vacation packages and lodging; special offers on technology and gifts; pharmacy services; legal services; and long term care insurance. AARP Services also engages in new product development activities for AARP and provides certain consulting services to outside companies.
The AARP College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF is provided by TIAA-CREF not AARP or its affiliates. TIAA-CREF pays a royalty fee to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. AARP does not employ or endorse TIAA-CREF associates. Please contact TIAA-CREF directly for details.
1 $100,000* contribution to a state 529 college savings plan account to which TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. provides services in one (1) of the following states: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont or Wisconsin. Additional restrictions apply, please see rules. *All federal, state, local, and other taxes on Prize are the sole responsibility of the applicable winner and may significantly reduce the amount of the Prize for winner.
2 2009 Financial Research Corp. Study
3 2010 study by Washington University in St. Louis's Center for Social Development (http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/12/pf/college/college-savings/index.html)
4 This is a hypothetical example for illustrative purposes only. It assumes 5% interest compounded annually, and no withdrawals of contributions, earnings, and taxes. The example is presented for illustrative purposes only to show the effect of compounding and tax deferral and does not represent the actual performance or predict the future results of any TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc,- managed account, and does not reflect any reduction for expenses. Account value is not guaranteed and will fluctuate based upon a number of factors, including general market conditions.