If you speak with Marcos Cordero, the co-founder & CEO of Miami-based Gradvisor, he’ll share with you two troubling statistics about college savings.
First, 80% of parents don’t know what a 529 plan is, and second, 60% of those saving for college don’t use a 529 plan.
That didn’t sit well with the former engineer and MIT and Harvard Business School alum.
So, he started Gradvisor to help more people save for college and encourage employers to become more active participants in the college savings process.
A 529 plan, or qualified tuition plan, is a tax-advantaged vehicle to help save for college costs and is sponsored by states, state agencies or educational institutions in accordance with Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.
More and more companies are adding 529 plans to workplace-benefits packages to help employees save money for college, The Wall Street Journal reports. “The goal is to make saving for college akin to saving for retirement by providing some of the same incentives that encourage workers to contribute to 401(k) accounts.”
While such a perk is still uncommon, CollegeAmerica recently revealed that its corporate-sponsored account have been expanding at a rate of approximately 5% annually over the last five years. Ascensus Inc., an administrative services firm that works with 529 plans, reports similar data.
Still though, there are important considerations to be made with regards to taxes and personalized 529 plans, as author Lisa Ward notes. And some employers have chosen to farm out the responsibility of 529 plans to outside companies entirely. Miami, FL-based Gradvisor affords employees “customized advice on which direct-sold 529s might best suit their needs and how much to save per paycheck” and also allows them to “track their investments, adjust contributions and speak with a financial adviser for no additional charge.”
Savingforcollege.com has launched the “529 Reasons to Open a 529 Plan” plan which will promote saving for college. To boost awareness, Savingforcollege.com is running a $1,529 cash scholarship sweepstakes. To enter, visitors to the website can submit their own reason to open a 529 plan. They are also hosting a 1-hour free webinar with more information.
GradSave Founder and CEO Marcos Cordero examines whether financial aid is an indicator of educational performance in an article for The Huffington Post. Cordero also provides advice and calculation tools to better plan and understand the net cost of college expenses. Cordero’s GradSave aims to simplify the college savings process by finding and making it easy to open the optimal 529 plan.
Forbes staff writer, Meghan Casserly, takes a look at GradSave and founder Marcos Cordero as they seek to help parents save for college via crowd funding. As the cost of college education continues to rise, GradSave aims to make saving for college simple, with a combination of education and online tools that accept gifts from friends and family. The fee-free service can be linked to any state-sponsored 529 saving plan.
Writing for US News, Reyna Gobel takes a look at the options available to parents for setting up college savings accounts before their children are born. She provides an example of the Keller’s, a Washington couple, who opened a GradSave account which allows friends and family to donate money online to a college fund. The online registry allows parents to transfer money donated through the site into any 529 college savings plan account. According to GradSave spokesman Eddie Pradel, it is common for parents to open GradSave accounts before a child is born in anticipation of events such as baby showers.
GradSave announced today its $5,000 Children’s College Fund Sweepstakes. The winner of a random drawing will receive $5,000 towards a 529 college savings plan. There is no purchase necessary and parents can visit the entry page at www.gradsave.com/sweepstakes for a chance to win. This is the second sweepstakes that GradSave has sponsored as the Company continues its mission to raise awareness of the importance of saving for college.
GradSave announced today that it will no longer charge fees for gift transactions on its site. In an effort to help more customers save for college, GradSave will no longer charge fees beyond those of 4rd party payment processors. “We couldn’t be more excited to offer our service free to families that are saving for college. Removing all barriers that might hinder college savings has been our goal from day one,” says GradSave Co-Founder, CEO and Chief GradSaver Marcos Cordero. “This is an important step to help gift-givers and families alike realize that giving the gift of a college education is not only easy, but now at a vastly reduced rate — especially if contributors pay via eCheck. Giving the gift of a college education is now officially cheaper than even the postage on a greeting card.”
This Memorial Day, GradSave announced a new partnership with the Children of Fallen Soldiers Foundation (CoFS) to increase awareness and raise educational savings for children who have lost a parent while serving our Armed Forces. GradSave will feature three families, chosen by CoFS, on http://www.gradsave.com/fallenheroes, where people can contribute directly to a college fund for each child. Gifts start as low as $5.00 and GradSave will be donating $1.00 for every GradSave transaction made from May 24th-31st, including gifts made to their current 8,000+ GradSavers.