Shelley Osterloh Reporting Paying for a college education is difficult and sometimes impossible for students and their families. But a Utah program that helps families save for college is getting national recognition.
A four year college education in Utah costs about $32,000. But by the time a little baby is old enough for higher ed, the cost is expected to be more like $80,000.
Kimber and Robert Ullery are on a tight budget, trying to put him through college right now. Still they are already thinking ahead and saving for seven-month old Graclin.
Kimber Ullery: "This is a really good program because not only do we put in 25 dollars each month, but then they match it each month, so it helps us out so we can save more than we thought was possible for our daughter. Then when she gets old enough she'll have the money to get an education which is important, isn't it."
Governor Olene Walker signed a proclamation today kicking off a campaign to spread the word about the Utah Educational Savings Plan, which offers families a safe, easy low-cost way to save for their children's college.
The program was established by the legislature ten years ago, but this year the state has added a pilot program for low income families, in which their investment is matched up to 300 dollars per year for four years. But no mater what the income level, Utah parents and grandparents who save through the program still get a tax break for their investment.
Geri Petersen, Utah Educational Savings Plan, Outreach Manager: "Utah residents, actually if they each year put money into the program, get state tax deduction and this year its $1,470 dollars for a single person. A family who files a joint return it is up to $2,940 dollars, and that's for each child."
Parents must open their saving's plan account before the child turns 19, and the earlier, the better
The program is considered one of the best in the nation, according to Money and Kipplinger Finance magazines. 75% of all the families enrolled are from out of state. Though they don't get the state tax break, the earnings are tax free.