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
  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072414-MichelleNunn003.jpeg Michelle Nunn visits Valdosta

    The day after learning that her Republican challenger would be David Perdue, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn kicked off her Common Sense and Collaboration Tour Wednesday by meeting with business owners in Atlanta, Athens and Macon and continued her tour Thursday morning by visiting the David S. Waller Unit facility of the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • lunch.jpg Valdosta One Lunch feeds summer-hungry kids

    Hunger is a concept that many people associate with third-world countries, not their hometown. However, in Valdosta, hunger is real. To combat this hunger, a group of Valdostans have created Valdosta One Lunch, a program that distributes bagged meals to children in need.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • thumbs up.jpeg Moody squadron commander reaches milestone

    The 75th Fighter Squadron commander hit a career milestone July 17, by surpassing 3,000 flight hours in an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • water.jpg New equipment expected to deal with Lowndes water violations

    The Lowndes County Commission’s recent approval of $1.6 million for water-treatment equipment is expected to counter a past series of water-quality violations within the county.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 142314-Goodwill.jpg Goodwill hosts the Mexican Consulate

    Mexican citizens living in South Georgia have spent this week lining up at the Valdosta Goodwill to meet with the Mexican Consulate to obtain Mexican government issued identification.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723-Tree001.jpg Chamber plants 100th centennial tree

    Founded in September 1912, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest chambers in the state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723 - Operation M#10E3C7.JPG Veterans First

    With Moody Air Force Base expecting to lose 300 to 400 personnel due to government cutbacks, area organizations are working with military personnel about to enter the civilian work force.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lowndes increases millage rate

    For the first time since 1999, the Lowndes County Commission voted Wednesday to increase the millage rate.

    July 24, 2014

  • dui memorial 1.jpg Memorial honors woman killed in DUI case

    More than a week after the man responsible for her death was sentenced to five years in jail, a memorial sign has been placed at the site where Sheila Foster-Lamb was hit and killed by an impaired driver while she was on her way to work.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

Top News

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results