Edvest, Wisconsin's 529 College Savings Plan, celebrated its 20th anniversary on September 19 with a reception at the State Capitol. For two decades, Edvest has helped Wisconsin families save for the cost of higher education. While a lot has changed over the years, one thing that hasn't is Edvest's commitment to make saving for college easier and more affordable for Wisconsin families.
Edvest is one of the nation's top 529 plans and offers a variety of investment plans to meet the different needs and risk profiles of Wisconsinites. Earnings from all of the plans grow tax-free, giving consumers an incentive to save. With a minimum contribution of just $25, Edvest is affordable for most Wisconsin families, a key selling point as college costs continue to rise. Encouragingly, Edvest has almost 160,000 account holders who have collectively saved nearly $3 billion for higher education—an average balance of $17,000.
In addition to celebrating two decades of helping Wisconsin consumers save for college, Edvest is also moving to a new home. Previously housed at the Wisconsin Department of Administration, the 2017-19 state budget transitioned Edvest to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). The program will dovetail nicely with DFI's Office of Financial Literacy; the office recently launched a website dedicated to college savings resources for current and prospective students: www.lookforwardwi.gov.
Another reason DFI is a good home for Edvest: Banks play an important role in their customers' lives, and therefore are well-positioned to make them aware of the benefits of saving for the future. "Banks are trusted financial advisors in their communities," said DFI Secretary Jay Risch. "Many Wisconsinites turn to their local banker for advice on how to save, and Edvest is an effective option for banks to recommend."
In a Facebook interview during the anniversary celebration, Risch highlighted some of the benefits of opening an Edvest account:
- Anyone, not just a child's parents, may open or contribute to an Edvest account - even out-of-state family and friends.
- Contributions to an Edvest account will reduce a person's Wisconsin taxable income.
- Edvest funds can be used at colleges, technical colleges, and grad schools nationwide and abroad on tuition, books, room and board, computers/tablets or other qualified expenses.
- Teens who have a savings account in their name are six times more likely to attend college than those without one.
Saving early for post-secondary education has never been more important.
Data from the National Center for Education Statistics