|Baton Rouge – According to the College Board, for the 2020-2021 academic year, the average cost of tuition and fees for full-time students at a public four-year college or university is $10,560. As the cost of a college education continues to rise, it is critical that families take advantage of opportunities to save for those expenses. The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) oversees the state’s 529 college saving plan – the Student Tuition Assistance and Revenue Trust (START) Program – that helps families set aside money for furthering education after high school.
Today, LOSFA is announcing an added layer of savings for Louisiana families. LOSFA is partnering with Upromise, a leading consumer brand that offers a free rewards program with a mission to help families save for college. Upromise partners with major retailers, restaurants, and other brands to give members cash back rewards on their purchases, online and in-store, as well as rewards for other everyday online activities. START account owners now have the choice to link their accounts directly to Upromise to reach their college savings goals faster. Upromise Mastercard cardmembers earn 1.529% cashback rewards on every purchase when their Upromise program account is linked to an eligible college savings plan like START.
“Our account owners have inquired about Upromise over the years, so we know there will be a lot of interest in this partnership,” said Terri Underwood, director of START Programs at LOSFA. “This is an exciting opportunity for Louisiana families.”
Recently, Upromise commissioned a national survey that found 82% of parents with children under 18 found it very important to save for college, but only 19% were very confident they would be able to save enough.
“Our new and exciting partnership with the Louisiana START Savings Program will continue to provide college savers with greater opportunities to save through their everyday purchases and online activities,” said Daniel Hahn, vice president, and general manager of Upromise. “Over time, these added benefits will help Louisiana families to reach their college savings goals faster. Upromise has rewarded college savers with more than $1 billion over the years, and award a $529 college scholarship every month to five families participating in our program, to give an additional boost to their college savings.”
“The convenience of saving with Louisiana’s 529 START Saving Programs, and the opportunity to earn additional dollars towards those savings with everyday purchases and online activities, is a fantastic added benefit for our account owners and their beneficiaries,” said LOSFA’s Executive Director, Dr. Sujuan Boutte. “One lesson we learned during the pandemic is the importance of budgeting and saving. This partnership with Upromise allows Louisiana families to make sure they maximize their savings now and minimize student loan debt later. We are super excited about this!”
Louisiana families will maintain the advantages of investing in the START Saving Program with their selected investment fund, including the Louisiana Principal Protection Fund where the state will match up to 14% of deposits each year (depending on their adjusted gross income). Earnings on deposits into a START 529 account are also exempt from state and federal taxes when used on a qualified higher education expense (tuition, fees, room, board, supplies, and equipment required by their institution).
“Higher education is the key to building Louisiana’s economy,” said Louisiana’s Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Kim Hunter Reed. “By providing opportunities for students and their families to save early, our state removes part of the burden and stress on families to help them reach their desired credential/career goal. Partnerships like these, with Upromise bringing cashback rewards to START account owners, levels the college access field and helps eliminate affordability gaps for families in our state.”
Click here to learn more about Louisiana’s 529 College Saving Programs.
To learn more about Upromise, click here.
To learn more about the Upromise Mastercard, click here.
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