Comptroller Encourages New Yorkers To Save For College – Lansing Star

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State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is encouraging New Yorkers who face college expenses to open a 529 College Savings account to start saving now to help with the costs of getting a degree.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest figures from 2015, the nationwide average student loan balance is $29,700 and New Yorkers owe an average of $32,200. As the cost for a college education increases, more young people are struggling with the realities of paying off their college loans.

“Too many new college graduates are weighed down by a heavy debt burdendebt burden that may take years to pay off,” DiNapoli said. “Parents, friends and family members can use New York’s 529 College Savings Programollege Savings Program to start saving early for an education and lower their tax burden at the same time. We have one of the lowest cost programs in the country and enrollment is quick and easy.”

New York’s 529 College Savings Program is an investment tool designed to help save for college. Parents and other participants paid for more than $1.5 billion in college-related expenses through the program in 2016. Once an account is opened it can be used for higher education institutions in New York and nationwide. New Yorkers investing in the program can contribute and deduct up to $5,000 from their New York State taxable income. Married couples filing jointly can deduct up to $10,000 each year.

New York’s 529 College Savings Program began in 1997 and is overseen by the State Comptroller in partnership with the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation. Parents, grandparents and others can use the program to save money to help cover qualified higher educational expenses including tuition, certain room-and-board expenses, books and supplies. Individuals can enroll in two plans offered by the program: the Direct Plan and the Advisor-Guided Plan.

The Direct Plan offers a broad array of investment options, including individual investment options provided by the program and age-based investment options that automatically rebalance the assets in the portfolio to become more conservative over time. There are more than 768,000 Direct Plan accounts valued at approximately $21 billion. The Advisor-Guided Plan offers age-based and asset allocation portfolios. This plan also gives the option to customize portfolios using individual investment options. There are over 194,000 Advisor-Guided Plan accounts valued at over $4.5 billion.

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