If you hadn't noticed, it's officially National College Savings Month. The California treasurer is hosting events to get the word out to parents and grandparents about ScholarShare, California's 529 Plan for college savings.
ScholarShare informational booths will be open at events from Sausalito to San Diego, including these in Sacramento:
Sunday: Grandparents Day at Fairytale Town
Wednesday: Wellness Awareness Expo, Dept. of Motor Vehicles office, 2570 24th St.
Sept. 29-30: ScholarShare Children's Book Festival, Fairytale Town
What's a 529 Plan? Named after an IRS code section, it's a tax-deferred way for parents to set aside money for future college costs. And for Californians, the annual college pricetag is intimidating. For the 2012-13 school year, college costs (tuition, books, room/board) are estimated at $23,400 for CSU campuses and $31,700 for UCs.
Almost every state has its own 529 Plan. In California, the treasurer's office is strongly encouraging more families to start saving for their kids' college costs. Contributions to the state's ScholarShare program start as low as $25 and donors pick from 19 different investment funds, overseen by TIAA-CREF. When it's time for college, the student's withdrawals for college expenses are tax-free.
And you don't have to be a parent: friends, grandparents, work colleagues or other relatives can open a 529 Plan for the child in their life.