Wilmington, Del. – September 8, 2004 Governor Ruth Ann Minner and Lt. Governor John Carney Jr. have declared September as College Savings Month in recognition of the need for families to save for the rising costs of post-secondary education.
According to the College Board, the average tuition and fees at a four-year public college in the 2003-04 academic year was $4,694. The cost was $19,710 at a four-year private college. Tuition costs and fees have risen faster than increases in inflation, student financial aid and family income. This means that families must borrow more through financial loans to pay for college expenses.
U.S. Census data continues to show that an investment in post-secondary education pays significant dividends. In 2003, median income for people 25 and older with a high school diploma was $36,835, while those with a bachelor’s degree earned $68,728 and those with a doctorate degree earned $96,830.
The Delaware College Investment Plan was established in 1998 to help families save for college. Highlights of the Plan include:
- federal and state tax deferred earnings, which became tax exempt in January 2002
- flexible investment options ranging from aggressive to moderate to conservative, including age-based portfolios
- savings can be used at colleges and other post-secondary programs nationwide
- high contribution limit
- low investment requirement
- low fees and expenses
The Delaware Higher Education Commission (DHEC) administers the College Investment Plan. The College Investment Plan Board of Trustees, chaired by State Treasurer Jack Markell provides oversight. To date, the plan has grown to over 19,700 accounts and over $195 million in assets.
According to Treasurer Markell, “It is more important than ever for Delaware families to save for their children’s college education. The Delaware College Investment Plan provides a well managed, tax advantaged, easy way to get started saving.” Added Markell, “In addition, grandparents and others can establish savings accounts for children, whether they live in Delaware or not.”
“Some parents believe if they save, they will be ineligible for financial aid,” said Maureen Laffey, director of DHEC. Added Laffey, “In fact, most aid is in the form of loans. Since eligibility is largely income-driven, savings have little impact. The more a family saves, the less they will have to borrow.”
Delaware contracted with Fidelity Investments for investment and account management of the Plan. Fidelity is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, and offers investment management, retirement, brokerage and shareholder services to over 16 million individuals and institutions.
For more information about the Delaware College Investment Plan, call 800-544-1655 to speak to a Fidelity representative, visit http://www.fidelity.com/delaware or call DHEC at 302-577-3240 or 800-292-7935 (outside New Castle County). For more about the importance of saving and Delaware’s financial literacy efforts visit the State Treasurer’s Office http://www.state.de.us/treasure.
For information on how to accelerate college savings through use of the Fidelity Investments 529 College Reward Card, visit http://personal.fidelity.com/planning/college/content/delfactsheet.shtml.cvsr.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
Other Press Releases