COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

Savingforcollege.com

College savings success stories: The 529 Guru's story
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/college-savings-success-stories-the-529-gurus-story

Posted: 2014-05-06

by Kathryn Flynn

Each week, weíve been featuring stories about how American households made it through the most expensive years of their lives. There arenít many families who can simply reach for their checkbook when itís time to pay for college. As parents, we can benefit from learning whatís worked for others who have succeeded in getting their children through school with minimal debt.

This week, we asked our very own CEO and 529 guru, Joe Hurley, to share how he used his expertise to pay for the college education of his own two children.

The Hurley Family
Parents: Joe and Ginny
Kids: Megan (B.S. '09); Chris (B.S. '12)
Savings Strategy: Various

By Joseph Hurley

Both of our children attended and graduated from well-regarded 4-year private colleges in upstate New York. Several strategies helped to make the cost affordable.

The first strategy involved merit scholarships. By achieving high GPAs in high school, our kids were awarded significant merit-based scholarships entering college. When our daughter transferred to a different college, she lost some of her scholarship support and agreed to take out a student loan, which was repaid before too long.

Our second strategy involved 529 college-savings plans. We used 529 plans to pay for nearly all of our kidsí college costs, and as a result both are now in the work force without the burden of student loans. At one point we figured out that the tax savings attributable to our 529 plans paid for more than one whole semester of college costs!

What are the top performing 529 plans?

Of course, being the ď529 GuruĒ I was already a big believer in the benefits of saving for college and in 529 plans. At one time we had accounts in over 30 different 529 plans, not because there was a benefit in using so many plans, but rather because being in all those plans helped me with my 529 research.

Our third strategy involved our sonís housing situation. When he was a freshman we helped finance his purchase of a house two miles from campus. The expense of owning a house, when sharing costs with as many as three housemates, was significantly less than on-campus room and board. He also qualified for an $8,000 tax credit available to first-time homebuyers! Six years later he is still living in that house.

And finally, college costs were kept within bounds by our kidsí diligence in working hard while in college and graduating in four years. While some students can shave costs by receiving a four-year degree in less than four years, the more common (and more costly) situation is the student who takes more than four years to graduate.

Each week, weíve been featuring stories about how American households made it through the most expensive years of their lives. There arenít many families who can simply reach for their checkbook when itís time to pay for college. As parents, we can benefit from learning whatís worked for others who have succeeded in getting their children through school with minimal debt.

This week, we asked our very own CEO and 529 guru, Joe Hurley, to share how he used his expertise to pay for the college education of his own two children.

The Hurley Family
Parents: Joe and Ginny
Kids: Megan (B.S. '09); Chris (B.S. '12)
Savings Strategy: Various

By Joseph Hurley

Both of our children attended and graduated from well-regarded 4-year private colleges in upstate New York. Several strategies helped to make the cost affordable.

The first strategy involved merit scholarships. By achieving high GPAs in high school, our kids were awarded significant merit-based scholarships entering college. When our daughter transferred to a different college, she lost some of her scholarship support and agreed to take out a student loan, which was repaid before too long.

Our second strategy involved 529 college-savings plans. We used 529 plans to pay for nearly all of our kidsí college costs, and as a result both are now in the work force without the burden of student loans. At one point we figured out that the tax savings attributable to our 529 plans paid for more than one whole semester of college costs!

What are the top performing 529 plans?

Of course, being the ď529 GuruĒ I was already a big believer in the benefits of saving for college and in 529 plans. At one time we had accounts in over 30 different 529 plans, not because there was a benefit in using so many plans, but rather because being in all those plans helped me with my 529 research.

Our third strategy involved our sonís housing situation. When he was a freshman we helped finance his purchase of a house two miles from campus. The expense of owning a house, when sharing costs with as many as three housemates, was significantly less than on-campus room and board. He also qualified for an $8,000 tax credit available to first-time homebuyers! Six years later he is still living in that house.

And finally, college costs were kept within bounds by our kidsí diligence in working hard while in college and graduating in four years. While some students can shave costs by receiving a four-year degree in less than four years, the more common (and more costly) situation is the student who takes more than four years to graduate.

 

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