College savings plan touted to Ely elementary students

Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall spoke to parents at David E. Norman Elementary School last Wednesday about college saving plans for children. 

As costs associated with college continue to rise, Marshall said she hoped to help lend a hand for families to start saving early and to tell them that every little bit helps, no matter what.

“College costs are rising faster than anything else, faster than gas, faster than utilities, faster than anything else we’re spending money on,” Marshall said.

Those rising costs can overwhelm families, Marshall said. But she’s hoping to show them that saving for college can be much less daunting if they begin saving early and over time.

“I think people are very concerned about how they’re going to get their child to college,” Marshall said. “They know their child needs a post high school plan but how are they going to get them there? This is a way to help them.”

Marshall was promoting the Nevada College Kick Start Program, where the treasurer’s office will put $50 in an account for each kindergarten student. The yearly program is open to kindergarten students statewide and Marshall was in the midst of a tour visiting several rural counties in Nevada to offer them this opportunity.

“We decided to start this program in the rural counties because most of the time, rural counties come last,” Marshall said. “We think it’s time for the rural counties to get something first.”

The program doesn’t use taxpayer dollars, Marshall said. Parents can open up a college savings account for their child no matter what grade they are in for as little as $15.

“You know what that is,” Marshall said. “It’s the cost of a pizza for a family on a Friday night. This is doable.”

And while $15 may not seem like it could make a difference, the fact that an account is opened in a child’s name can make a world of difference.

“Here’s what the statistics say,” Marshall said. “If you open a college savings account with a child’s name on it, regardless of how much money is in the account, that child is seven times more likely to go to college. It doesn’t matter how much money…all that matters is you’ve put the money in an account.”

To help provide further incentives, the State Treasurer’s Office is also offering a deal for families who earn less than $75,000 a year.

“If you earn less than $75,000 and you open an account for as low as $15, I will match that money dollar for dollar up to $300,” Marshall said. “It does not get better than this. You can’t make this much money in the stock market; you can’t make this much money in a bank. If you put $15 in, that $15 becomes $30. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

The money saved can be used for any institution of higher education that’s recognized by the United States nationwide, Marshall said.

White Pine County School District Superintendent Bob Dolezal said everyone was excited to see the rural counties be exposed to the kindergarten savings program and the college savings program.

“We’re real excited for this opportunity to be brought before White Pine County first,” Dolezal said. “Hopefully we can build on this to be bigger and better in the future.”

For more information about the State Treasurer’s Office, college savings accounts and more, please visit www.Nevadas529.com.

As Marshall hoped to appeal to families, especially those with children in kindergarten, the message was clear. While it may take a variety of things to help fully pay for college, starting an account when students are young, no matter how big or small, can make a big difference long term.

“We want to show them the goal of this program is to get more people to save for college,” Marshall said. “If they think about this now when they’re child is in kindergarten, they can put a little in at a time…If you save $50 a month for the next 13 years, you’ll have over $11,000. You can go to UNR or TMCC, you’re there. ”

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