Oregon College Savings Plan giving accounts opened on behalf of babies $25

All babies that live in Oregon can receive $25 in their Oregon College Savings Plan account.

SALEM — New and expecting parents have another reason to celebrate this New Year’s Day: Their babies can get a jumpstart on saving for college through the Oregon College Savings Plan’s $25 Baby Grad incentive program.

Starting Jan. 1, 2018, when an account is opened for a child before their first birthday, $25 is automatically contributed to the account within three months.

Since the program launches New Year’s Day, children born after Jan. 1, 2017 qualify. Anyone can open the account, but only the first account to list the child as the beneficiary will receive the incentive.

The program is meant to help new parents see the benefit of saving for college as early as possible. The sooner parents start saving, the longer their money has the opportunity to grow.

To celebrate the launch of the program, the Oregon College Savings Plan is giving an additional $529 to the first baby born at Salem Hospital in 2018. Salem Health is partnering with the plan to get information out to their families about the benefits of saving for college.

“We’re very excited to share this news from the Oregon College Savings Plan’s Baby Grad Program with families who deliver at our Family Birth Center,” said Lisa Ketchum, director of Salem Health’s Women’s and Children’s Services. “It’s never too early to plan for your baby’s future, and this opportunity offers a $25 incentive to get started. It’s also a perfect way for grandparents – or aunts or uncles – to give a unique gift to their new loved one!“

For the past three years, the Oregon College Savings Plan ran the Baby Grad program as a three-month pilot. More than 2,300 accounts were opened and $11.7 million saved since 2015. Every dollar spent on the incentive resulted in $200 being saved by families for college.

“We’ve found that even a small incentive like $25 is just the nudge families need to start saving for higher education,” said Michael Parker, executive director of the Oregon Savings Network, which administers the program. “The sooner they start saving, the longer their money will be able to work for them.“

Any earnings in the Oregon College Savings Plan are tax-free if used for qualified withdrawals. Funds can be used to pay for tuition, books, room and board, fees and other education expenses at universities, colleges, trade schools and community colleges across the country.

To learn more about the Oregon College Savings Plan or open an account, go to www.OregonCollegeSavings.com.

The Oregon Savings Network, part of the Oregon State Treasury, was launched in Jan. 2001 to administer 529 college savings plans.

Baby Grad is sponsored by the Oregon College Savings Plan. Void where prohibited. Read the terms and conditions at OregonCollegeSavings.com/BabyGrad.

To learn more about the Oregon College Savings Plan, its investment objectives, tax benefits, risks and costs, please see the Disclosure Booklet at OregonCollegeSavings.com. Read it carefully. Investments in the Plan are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss. If the funds aren't used for qualified education expenses, a 10% penalty tax on earnings (as well as federal and state income taxes) may apply. Taxpayers should seek advice from an independent tax advisor based on their own particular circumstances.

Rachel Diesel