'Saving for College Week' highlights importance of planning

Author: Sue Lister and Dee Dee Sterling

A jar of coins

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

When it comes to saving for a college education, planning is key.

To help employees and alumni with post-secondary education planning, several departments on campus have joined together to present Saving for College Week, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Collaboration between the Finance Division along with Human Resources, Enrollment Division and Alumni Association, Saving for College Week will feature lunch and-learn and evening presentations, a webinar and a question-and answer session.

Presenters include Jodi Golden, executive director of the Indiana Education Savings Authority and Nancy Farmer, president of the Tuition Plan Consortium, a not-for-profit organization that was formed to establish a prepaid tuition 529 option designed specifically by and for private colleges and universities. Notre Dame is participant in the Private College 529 Plan.

Other presenters include Tom Bear, executive director of Student Financial Strategies; Joe Russo, former director of student financial strategies; Jim Malloy, community relations program coordinator for the Office of Financial Aid; Maureen Wildey, benefits program manager in Human Resources; Kelli Kalisik, assistant director of Financial Aid; Michael Riemke, associate director of Financial Aid; and Noah Emery, student financial aid counselor.

“As an institution of higher learning, we feel it is our responsibility to offer guidance to our employees and alumni about the financial alternatives available to help them pay for a college education, “said John Sedona, vice president of finance. “There are a variety of ways to fund a college education, and our experts will be able to explain the details of all options.”

Most families pay for college using a combination of sources that may include savings, current income, financial aid, grants and pre-paid tuition plans. Full-time faculty and staff at the University who meet the eligibility requirements have the added advantage of the Educational Benefit program.

The program provides a tuition benefit for their child or children attending Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College or another four-year accredited college or university; however, families should consider saving for any remaining tuition, along with room and board, books, etc.

“It’s important for employees with young children to understand the University’s education benefit and how to supplement that benefit with personal savings,” said Wildey. “With the proper knowledge and an action plan, families can lighten the future financial impact of paying for college.”

One key component to a college savings strategy is a 529 plan, which allows individuals to save for their child(ren) and other relatives such as grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, all states offer at least one 529 savings plan. Notre Dame participates in the Private College 529 Plan, a prepaid tuition plan sponsored by more than 270 private colleges across the country.

Participants in the Private College 529 Plan get tomorrow’s tuition at today’s prices for up to 30 years after it was purchased, and the increase in value is tax-free. Account owners pay no fees, so 100 percent of contributions go toward the purchase of tuition.

Saving for College Week events

Wednesday, Sept. 25

Lunch and Learn
noon – 1 p.m.
(LaFortune Student Center, Notre Dame Room)
This presentation will include the importance of creating a plan for saving for college; provide an overview of various savings options, focusing on 529 plans; and discuss how these savings plans can work with the Notre Dame Education Benefit. Attendees should bring their lunch.
Beverages and dessert will be provided.

Evening Education Session
6 – 7 p.m.
(Eck Visitors’ Center)
This 60-minute presentation will include the importance of creating a plan for saving for college; provide an overview of various savings options, focusing on 529 plans; and discuss how these savings plans can work with the Notre Dame Education Benefit. Beverages and dessert will be provided.

Thursday, Sept. 26

Live Online Presentation
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. This 40-minute presentation will include the importance of creating a plan for saving for college; provide an overview of various savings options, focusing on 529 plans; and discuss how these savings plans work with Financial Aid. To register, please email sav4coll@nd.edu.

Friday, Sept. 27

Drop–in Question and Answer Session
2 – 3:45 p.m.
(121 Main Building)
Staff will be available to answer questions on the importance of creating a plan for saving for college; various college savings options, specifically 529 plans; and how savings plans work with Financial Aid. This is a drop-in question and answer event. Representatives from the Office of Financial Aid, the Private College 529 Plan and the Finance Division will be available to answer questions. Brochures and summary resources will also be provided.

For more information about Saving for College Week, contact Mary Scott in the Office of Budget and Financial Planning at 631-9137 or email sav4coll@nd.edu.