If you’re thinking of asking your family and friends for help with your child’s higher education aspirations during the holiday season, then you’re not alone. Fifty-eight percent of parents are already thinking about asking their families and friends for an investment in their child’s education, according to the College Savings Foundation (CSF).
CSF is a not-for-profit based in Washington, D.C., that seeks to provide information and resources for U.S. families saving for college. The foundation includes members of the financial services industry involved with sponsoring or managing 529s.
Its “State of College Savings” 2017 survey included 800 U.S. parents with divergent incomes. The report says 95 percent of parents think online gifting tools and college savings gift registries would make saving for college more convenient.
“Parents today are comfortable with online college gifting options and willing to engage their family and their circle of friends who share their savings goals,” said Richard J. Polimeni, chair of CSF and director of education savings at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, in a statement.
To meet clients’ needs, firms and digital platforms are providing more ways for parents to accept and manage college savings gifts.
The College Savings Foundation put together a list of products available to parents based on its pool of members. Here are some of the options they mentioned.
Fidelity’s College Gifting Platform
Parents who have a college savings account with Fidelity can create an editable personalized gifting page for their child and invite family and friends to contribute.
Parents can send invitations through Facebook or Twitter or by sharing a link via e-mail or text. Friends and family members interested can contribute with an electronic check.
Parents are able to manage contributions through a private dashboard.
According to CSF, people who have a Fidelity-managed retail 529 college savings account, which includes the UNIQUE College Investing Plan, the MEFA U.Fund College Investing Plan, the Delaware College Investment Plan and the Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan, can sign up for the 529 Online Gifting Service. Learn more here.
Spryng for Franklin Templeton and NJBEST
Spryng is a gifting tool created for products like NJBEST and the Franklin Templeton 529 College Savings Plan account. Its users who have an account can set up a profile that can be shared on social media platforms or through e-mail. Learn more here.
Gift Certificates And Gift Cards
Some people like placing a gift in a person’s hand, so a gift certificate and a gift card are more their cup of tea.
Financial advisories like Franklin Templeton Investments in New Jersey and Michigan’s MI 529 Advisor Plan’s gifting certificate notices provide such opportunities. Franklin Templeton account holders can tell their friends and family members to gift with handwritten checks or a bank’s bill-pay services.
Friends and family members are also able to print off a decorated certificate to fill out and give as a gift for both Franklin Templeton and the MI 529 Advisor Plan.
College Savings Bank (a division of NexBank SSB) offers gift cards, as well.
This college savings gift registry has grown popular, according to CSF.
GiftofCollege.com allows friends, families and employers to buy gift cards at stores like Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us. The gift cards can contribute to college savings or student loan payments.
If they can’t make it to a Toys “R” Us store to get a gift card, they can purchase one on the site using their debit or credit cards
Like Spryng and Fidelity’s platform, parents are able to share their profile on Facebook and Twitter and through e-mail. Contributors can also search for the receiver’s profile. Learn more here.
Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program
The Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program offers an alternative to passing out your 529’s account number. It uses Ugift for people to invite their family and friends to contribute. Account holders will receive a Ugift code connected to their account to provide to family and friends. Contributors can gift whenever they want without registering or joining the site. Learn more here.
Nest 529 plans also use the Ugift platform for friends and family gifting. This plan also includes printable gift cards once you have mailed in the gift contribution to Nest. Learn more here.
CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 College Savings Plan (Ohio)
Along with its Ugift option, contributors can order greeting cards announcing their helpful gesture. Learn more here.
ScholarShare 529 offers electronic gift cards and eGift, along with its portal on GiftofCollege.com. Electronic gift cards carry values between $25 and $500. Its eGifts are similar to Ugifts; the program offers a secure way of gifting by providing a code in perpetuity that enables contributors to give whenever and as frequently as they want. Learn more here.
GoTuition is an online platform for account holders in the UA College Savings Plan (Alaska) and the T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan. If family and friends are not interested in mailing in their contributions, they can access the online portal through a link share via text, social media, e-mail or an evite.
To learn more, click here
The Utah Educational Savings Plan’s (UESP) Gift Program
The Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) also offers convenient options for friends and family members of its account holders. Once account holders have created a profile for their college savings plan, they can distribute a gift code and personal gift page link by mail, e-mail and social media channels. Contributors can give by linking their savings or checking accounts or by check. Learn more here.
Article was originally written by Asia Martin and published on fa-mag.com