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 Along with resources, a college cost calculator is available that will provide hypothetical illustrations of the potential growth of your investment.

Text Only
Local News
  • 140422-Dan_Keplinger003.jpg The Art of Determination

    Artist Dan Keplinger invests passion into his frenetic pieces. His line work teems with energy. An unexpected trait in the often technically precise medium of printmaking.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • 140422-RibbonCutting.jpg Learning center named in Horne’s honor

    Noting his lengthy legacy in educating the region's young people, Valdosta City Schools officially renamed the Pinevale Learning Center Tuesday in honor of the late Maceo A. Horne Jr.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rose: Dismiss ‘Quitman 11’ case

    Following the second mistrial in the case of a Brooks County woman accused of voter fraud, a local civil rights leader has called for the issue to be dismissed, but prosecutors plan to seek prosecution for a third time.

    April 23, 2014

  • Lawsuit challenging Ga. gay marriage ban filed

    A gay rights group filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday challenging Georgia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

    April 23, 2014

  • Commission denies City’s annexation request

    Lowndes County received an annexation request from the City of Hahira for five parcels of land that spanned approximately 66 acres, for the purpose of future development, and because the applicant sought city water and sewer.

    April 23, 2014

  • Confederate Memorial Day observed this weekend

    The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Valdosta Chapter 471, will observe Confederate Memorial Day, 10 a.m. Saturday, April 26, at Sunset Hill Cemetery.

    April 23, 2014

  • connell book review.jpg Literary Guild hears Fannie Flagg’s latest

    “Reading for fun is great, but learning while reading is super,” Sandra Connell told the Literary Guild at the April meeting.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Performance index tops Lowndes school board meeting

    Lowndes County Board of Education celebrated the results of the College and Career Readiness Performance Index scores during its regular session Monday night.

    April 23, 2014

  • N1401P14008C.TIF Sheriff hosts Prescription Take-Back Day

    The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office will collect unused medications this Saturday as a part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140421 - flooding Shiloh Rd B#1.jpg Road re-opens following flooding

    Lowndes County officials re-opened one road Monday while keeping an eye on the area’s waterways for potential flooding.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

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
     View Results