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Innovative Partnership Will Encourage Nevada Parents to Open 529 College Savings Accounts

Washington, D.C. – The Nevada Treasurer’s Office, Gift of College and the 1:1 Fund today announced a new marketing partnership to encourage more Nevada parents to open a personal 529 account and link it with their child’s Nevada College Kick Start account. College Kick Start is one of the nation’s leading college savings initiatives and “kick starts” a college savings account for every kindergarten student in Nevada.

As part of this innovative partnership, the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office will distribute Gift of College gift cards on a pilot basis to parents at two Title I schools in Reno. Each gift card comes pre-loaded with $25 through a generous grant from Charles Schwab Bank and provides a tangible incentive for parents in Title I schools, many of whom are low-income, to open a personal Nevada 529 account.

“We are excited to work with Gift of College, the 1:1 Fund and Charles Schwab Bank,” said Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz. “This partnership will continue our efforts to build a culture of education in Nevada by helping parents plan and prepare for future higher-education expenses, changing the conversation from ‘if’ a child goes to college to ‘when.’”

Nevada’s 529 plan is a savings plan designed to help families set aside funds for future postsecondary education costs. It is named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, which created these types of savings plans in 1996.

The Nevada College Kick Start program was launched in 2013 and establishes college savings accounts with an initial deposit of $50 for all public school kindergarten students in Nevada. In addition to claiming their child’s account online, the parent or guardian of each kindergarten student is being encouraged to pair the Kick Start account with a Nevada 529 account.

“Charles Schwab Bank has supported the Nevada College Kick Start program since its inception and we are very pleased to continue that support with a grant for this innovative gift card program,” said Nancy Brown, Director of Community Development at Charles Schwab Bank.

Nevada suffers from low education and college completion rates. The state ranks 49th in high school graduation rates (70%) and 46th in the percentage of adults who receive a two-year and four-year degree (31% and 23%, respectively). Research shows that college savings stand as a powerful tool to spur college attendance and completion. Low- and moderate-income children with college savings of as little as $500 are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate.

Founded in 2008, GiftofCollege.com is a gift registry for 529 college saving plans and student loan accounts that lets friends and family contribute easily online or with gift cards. GiftofCollege.com also provides a social savings platform where parents can promote their child’s education within their community, making saving for college simple, fun and top-of-mind. In November 2016, Gift of College began offering first-of-its-kind college savings gift cards that are available at Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores nationwide.

“Every child should be afforded the opportunity of a college education to ensure success in life,” said Wayne Weber, CEO at Gift of College. “We are honored to be part of such a purposeful program to provide this opportunity for a brighter future.”

The 1:1 Fund, a project of CFED, makes it easy for children’s savings programs like College Kick Start to raise saving incentives from private donors, large and small, thereby enabling these donors to match the contributions of young savers in college savings accounts. Charles Schwab Bank provided the funding for the Gift of College gift cards.

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