SAN FRANCISCO, April 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As they shelter in place, cash-strapped millennial parents can still save for college while they shop from major online retailers with its new Backer Bucks program, leading college savings platform CollegeBacker announced today.
Parents who shop through the Backer Bucks program either using a web browser [https://offers.collegebacker.com] or through CollegeBacker's mobile apps will earn a portion of their purchase towards their child's college fund.
CollegeBacker helps parents set up a tax-free 529 college savings plan in just 5 minutes and then invite family and friends to contribute gifts at birthdays and holidays. The new Backer Bucks program provides parents with more opportunities to save with cashback rewards deposited directly into their child's college fund.
"Many millennial families, burdened with college debt of their own, were having trouble saving for their kids' college even before the current health crisis," said CollegeBacker CEO and founder Jordan Lee. "With most Americans sheltering at home and shopping more online, Backer Bucks gives them an opportunity to add to their college savings without diverting scarce financial resources."
Among the popular brands where college savers can shop online and earn cash back towards their child's college fund are Ace Hardware, Cafe Press, Office Depot, Prana, MLB Shop, and Walmart.
In addition to getting cash back from online retailers, families can also earn cash rewards by downloading and trying out mobile apps, refinancing their student loans, accessing online learning for their kids, doing their taxes, and signing up for other web or app-based services.
"A number of our partners such as Party City, Crayola.com, Homer, Hooked On Phonics, and Audiobooks.com offer learning programs, activities, or crafts supplies to keep kids engaged while schools are closed," added Lee. "So we believe this is a perfect opportunity for parents to get some extra value from a timely online purchase by also saving for college."
College debt has doubled over the last 10 years and now stands at more than $1.7 trillion with the millennial generation hit the hardest. When it comes to saving for their own kids' college costs, they are starting earlier than prior generations and turning to family and friends for help.1
In addition to making it easy to sign up for a tax-free 529 college savings plan and offering new ways to save, CollegeBacker's unique gifting features enable families to save an average of 43% more by soliciting gifts for birthdays or baby showers, holidays, and graduations. More than half of the CollegeBacker families who have been on the platform for a year have received gifts into their college funds, compared to an industry average of 1%-2%.
Through CollegeBacker's website and mobile apps, families can set up and fund their child's college fund, monitor the growth of their investment, customize beautiful gifting pages for their kids, and invite family and friends to make a lasting gift to their child's future with easy payment methods like credit/debit cards.
By bringing free robo-advice and a seamless mobile app to the college savings industry, CollegeBacker is expanding the audience for 529 plans, with over 50% of its families self-identifying as low- or moderate-income.
"Surveys show 70% of Americans – most in lower-income brackets – are still unaware of 529 college savings plans," said Lee. "We hope the availability of an easy-to-use app and website with new ways to save will spur more families to start saving earlier."
CollegeBacker is democratizing access to education with a technology platform that makes it easy to invest tax-free for college and save more with gifts from family and friends along with third-party cashback offers. An SEC-registered investment adviser, CollegeBacker provides robo-advice to start investing with a top-tier 529 plan and portfolio. CollegeBacker is a venture-backed startup based in San Francisco that counts Princeton, Dartmouth, and USC as investors. It has introduced thousands of low- and moderate-income American families to 529 plans, helped them save over $5 million for college, and helped their kids avoid over $15 million in student loans.