State Treasurer says Missourians can take advantage of free college savings money starting March 1
Feb 20, 2012, 10:34 AM
JEFFERSON CITY – Starting March 1, college savers throughout Missouri might be eligible for up to $500 a year in free college savings money from MOST–Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan. State Treasurer Clint Zweifel said, for the first time ever, the direct-sold MOST 529 Plan will begin providing a dollar-for-dollar match on contributions up to $500 per year and $2,500 over a lifetime to the MOST 529 accounts of qualifying applicants.The MOST 529 Matching Grant Program, which is being funded with private money, makes Missouri the 12th state to offer such matching funds to college savers. Zweifel will mark the kickoff with events on March 1."Research and experience make it clear that when a family saves early for higher education, no matter the amount, it increases the likelihood a child will seek an advanced degree," Zweifel said. "The MOST 529 Matching Grant Program is about incentivizing and rewarding families who save and make that investment. Over the next four years, MOST 529 will provide up to $500,000 in matching funds to help Missourians save for college, technical schools and vocational institutions. I am excited about the prospects for families."At least $125,000 in MOST 529 Matching Grant Program funds will be available each year on a first-come-first-serve basis. Any unused matching funds will be rolled into the following year.*Missouri residents can qualify for the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program under the following guidelines:· Applicant must have a direct-sold MOST 529 account.· Applicant must be a parent or legal guardian of the beneficiary.· Account owner and the beneficiary must be Missouri residents.· Account owner must open a direct-sold MOST 529 account before applying.· The child must be 13 or younger when the Matching Grant is first approved.· The account owner's household adjusted gross income must be $74,999 or less, which includes 75 percent of Missouri households.· Account owner must reapply for the program each year.The availability of matching funds was announced in February 2011 as part of MOST 529's new management contract with program manager Upromise Investments. As part of the contract, Vanguard serves as the investment manager. The MOST 529 Matching Grant Program funds are distributed from contractually obligated funds, with no state funds being used."Not only did we cut MOST 529 fees by 44 percent and improve investments, we are now providing matching funds," Zweifel said. "These matching funds create an incentive that I believe will produce real results for children throughout Missouri. Long term those results are good for Missouri, its workforce and the economy.”To apply for the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program for 2012, Missourians can visit www.most529grant.org to download the application or call 1-800-992-8790 to request one. All applications must be postmarked by June 30, and applicants will receive notification of acceptance or denial by August 31. All Matching Grant Program funds for 2012 will be distributed into MOST 529 accounts by Jan. 31, 2013.To learn more about the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program, or to open a MOST 529 account, visit www.most529grant.org.