Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 14, 2013

Planning for college?

Georgia offers the answer

VALDOSTA — College is expensive and according to the current rate of inflation, it isn't getting cheaper any time soon.

“College costs in America are growing,” said wealth advisor and owner of Bush Wealth Management, Stacy Bush.

According to Bush, college costs have been rising roughly at a rate of 7 to 10 percent per year. Forbes found that since 1985, the overall consumer price index has risen 115 percent while the college education inflation rate has risen nearly 500 percent. For example, Bush's daughter is 6-years-old and by the time she's old enough for college, the cost will be approximately $180,000 just to go to Valdosta State University.

With these figures, Bush is advising that parents should start saving money for their child's college education immediately.

“Don't procrastinate, don't wait until (age) 13 or 14,” said Bush. "It's too late by then.”

In Georgia, there are resources available that make saving for college more manageable. In April of 2002, the Path2College 529 was established.

“It's actually a really good plan,” said Bush.

A 529 is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code that establishes the savings as a college account.

"Any money that is contributed to the account grows tax free," said Bush.

The Path2College 529 provides Georgians tax-deferred growth along the way, tax-free spending on qualified higher education expenses, and up t0 $2,000 per year, per beneficiary state income tax deduction just for saving.

"The savings can be used at Georgia colleges and universities as well as virtually any school in the U.S. along with many abroad," said Director of the Path2College 529 Plan Jennifer Wiggins.

According to Bush, grandparents can put money into the 529 as well and this is something that Bush encourages of his own clients.

"I encourage my clients to tell their parents not to give just toys," said Bush.

Grandparents and even parents can take a portion of a child's birthday, Christmas and more and put that money into the 529 to build up so they can utilize it for college in the future.

"There are so many people who are unaware this program exists and we want everyone to know the benefits available with Georgia's college savings plan," said Wiggins. "This college savings plan can be used to help them meet the cost of higher education for their children."

However, there are parents who have an older child and who have not had the means to put back for college. In this case, Bush suggests looking for scholarships.

"You need to skewer the landscape of potential scholarships," said Bush. "There's always a niche that you can get a few thousand dollars out of."

While the prospect of scholarships is every parent’s dream, it's idealistic when faced with the amount that college currently costs and the number of students competing for various scholarships and grants. Unfortunately, this has lead a large majority of students to take out student loans, a large contributor to the economic crisis when mixed with a depleted job market.

"Kids who come out of school with debt are at a tremendous disadvantage," said Bush. "But borrowing money is sometimes a reality."

In the case of incurring student loan debt, Bush recommends federal loans over private loans.

"I personally don't like the private stuff," said Bush.

For more information on the Path2College 529 Plan, go to www.path2college529.com. Along with resources, a college cost calculator is available that will provide hypothetical illustrations of the potential growth of your investment.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • doug henderson.jpg Memorial tourney returns

    The Doug Henderson III Memorial Golf Tournament has raised thousands of dollars for scholarship funds and to help organizations throughout the region.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914-WA-Egghunt021.jpg Park puts wild spin on Easter tradition

    Adventurous egg hunters braved overcast skies and a persistent drizzle to search for hidden prizes Saturday during Wild Adventure’s first Ostrich Egg Hunt.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • FallenTree003.JPG More spills reported

    City of Valdosta employees have spent the weekend responding to spills caused by several inches of rain that have again drenched the city during the past few days.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Underwater Easter_Rich copy.jpg Stories behind ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’

    Christ comes from the Greek word, “Christos,” meaning “the anointed one.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418_valwood001.jpg Valwood students register to vote

    Valwood teaches its students about the importance of voting. Each year, the school has encouraged eligible seniors to register to vote and participate in local elections.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • wadebrandon14.jpg Police still seeking missing mother, son

    Though their assignments have changed during the past dozen years, Valdosta Police Capt. Bobbi McGraw and Sgt. Chris Crews continue working the case of a missing mother and her son.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Minor flooding expected

    Minor flooding of the Withlacoochee River is expected this weekend thanks to the day-long rains across South Georgia Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Wastewater hazards assessed

    During heavy rain events, five to 15 manholes throughout the city are at risk of overflowing into local waterways, according to the City of Valdosta.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418-VSU_HSBA003.jpg Valdosta State cuts ribbon for health, business building

    Eighteen months after breaking ground on the project, Valdosta State University held the official ribbon cutting Friday for its Health Sciences and Business Administration Building.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Rail_Plan-001.jpg State Transportation seeks public input on rail plan

    The Georgia Department of Transportation held public meetings across the state this week to discuss its 2014 Georgia State Rail Plan.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results