Celebrating 20 Years of College Savings

Edvest, Wisconsin’s 529 College Saving Plan, is excited to celebrate 20 years of helping families save for the cost of higher education. Founded in 1997, Edvest has evolved from a prepaid tuition unit college savings account into one of the nation’s top 529 college savings plans with more than 161,000 accounts, averaging more than $17,300 in college savings.

While a lot has changed over the years, one thing that hasn’t is Edvest’s commitment to making saving for college easier and more affordable for Wisconsin families.

“For 20 years we’ve been committed to helping families save for college,” said Jessica Fandrich, officer for the State of Wisconsin 529 College Savings Program, DOA. “As the needs of Wisconsin families grow and change, Edvest will continue to be here for them to offer guidance, and a simple way to save for higher education.”

As you consider the importance of saving for college, here are a few things know:

Average debt – The total U.S. student loan debt is $1.44 trillion; the average Wisconsin student loan debt for the class of 2015 is $29,460, with an average monthly payment of $351.

Tuition is up – The average cost of tuition and fees has risen dramatically in Wisconsin over the last 20 years.

  • 1997:   $1,943 (public), $11,868 (private)
  • 2007:   $4,476 (public), $20,313 (private)
  • 2017:   $6,494 (public), $30,822 (private)

Don’t forget about dorms – Tuition isn’t the only thing families need to save for. Room and board costs are part of the equation too.

  • 1997:   $4,259 (public), $5,541 (private)
  • 2007:   $6,932 (public), $8,394 (private)
  • 2017:   $6,887 (public), $10,089 (private)

Books, pizza, phones, cars, (and more pizza) – In addition to room and board, students need to consider the cost of books and other needed supplies. Over the last two decades, the cost of textbooks has grown at nearly three times the rate of inflation. Transportation costs can add up to $1,287.50 per year by some estimates. Add in incidental costs like phone bills, a movie out with friends, or ordering dinner in occasionally, and that’s another estimated $2,035 per year to account for.

Edvest funds may be used for qualified higher education expenses, which include tuition, certain room and board expenses, fees, and the cost of books, supplies, and required equipment. Computers, tablets and related technology, such as internet access fees, software or printers, are also considered qualified education expenses.

Saving matters – Teens who have a savings account in their name are six times more likely to attend college than those without savings. Low and moderate-income kids that have a college savings plan are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate.

Edvest makes it easy – With a variety of investment choices, including the popular age-based options, Edvest’s low fees, combined with tax advantages for qualified Wisconsin residents, makes it easy and effective for more families to save for college. Edvest offers great ways to gift, including a secure eGift option and gift cards. Funds saved through Edvest can be used at colleges, technical colleges, and grad schools nationwide and abroad on fees, books, room and board, computers/tablets or other qualified expenses – not just tuition.

SavingforCollege.com recently ranked Edvest as one of the Top 15 in 3-year 529 Performance and awarded the program a 5-Cap Rating, which indicates that a 529 plan offers outstanding flexibility, attractive investments and additional economic benefits. Edvest also received a bronze rating from Morningstar Inc., and was ranked as the 529 plan with the sixth lowest fees in the nation (out of 51 direct-sold 529 plans) by Strategic Insight.

For more information or to open an Edvest account today, please visit Edvest.com. Edvest’s college savings specialists are also available Monday through Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. toll-free at 1.888.338.3789.