FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 20, 2012
State Treasurer Clint Zweifel says Missourians can take advantage of free college savings money starting Mar. 1
MOST–Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan will launch privately-funded Matching Grant Program
JEFFERSON CITY – Starting March 1, college savers throughout Missouri might be eligible for up to $500 a year in free college savings money from MOST–Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan. State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (ZWY-ful) said, for the first time ever, the direct-sold MOST 529 Plan will begin providing a dollar-for-dollar match on contributions up to $500 per year and $2,500 over a lifetime to the MOST 529 accounts of qualifying applicants.
The MOST 529 Matching Grant Program, which is being funded with private money, makes Missouri the 12th state to offer such matching funds to college savers. Treasurer Zweifel will mark the kickoff with events on March 1.
"Research and experience make it clear that when a family saves early for higher education, no matter the amount, it increases the likelihood a child will seek an advanced degree," Treasurer Zweifel said. "The MOST 529 Matching Grant Program is about incentivizing and rewarding families who save and make that investment. Over the next four years, MOST 529 will provide up to $500,000 in matching funds to help Missourians save for college, technical schools and vocational institutions. I am excited about the prospects for families."
At least $125,000 in MOST 529 Matching Grant Program funds will be available each year on a first-come-first-serve basis. Any unused matching funds will be rolled into the following year.*
Missouri residents can qualify for the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program under the following guidelines:
- Applicant must have a direct-sold MOST 529 account.
- Applicant must be a parent or legal guardian of the beneficiary.
- Account owner and the beneficiary must be Missouri residents.
- Account owner must open a direct-sold MOST 529 account before applying.
- The child must be 13 or younger when the Matching Grant is first approved.
- The account owner's household adjusted gross income must be $74,999 or less, which includes 75 percent of Missouri households.
- Account owner must reapply for the program each year.
The availability of matching funds was announced in February 2011 as part of MOST 529's new management contract with program manager Upromise Investments. As part of the contract, Vanguard serves as the investment manager. The MOST 529 Matching Grant Program funds are distributed from contractually obligated funds, with no state funds being used.
"Not only did we cut MOST 529 fees by 44 percent and improve investments, we are now providing matching funds," Treasurer Zweifel said. "These matching funds create an incentive that I believe will produce real results for children throughout Missouri. Long term those results are good for Missouri, its workforce and the economy."
To apply for the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program for 2012, Missourians can visit www.most529grant.org to download the application or call 1-800-992-8790 to request one. All applications must be postmarked by June 30, and applicants will receive notification of acceptance or denial by August 31. All Matching Grant Program funds for 2012 will be distributed into MOST 529 accounts by Jan. 31, 2013.
To learn more about the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program, or to open a MOST 529 account, visit www.most529grant.org.
Investment returns are not guaranteed, and you could lose money by investing in the Plan.
*The Missouri Higher Education Savings Program Board (the "Board") reserves the right to change or vary the terms of the MOST Matching Grant Program including the eligibility requirements and annual Matching Grant funds limit without prior notice. The MOST Matching Grant Program may be discontinued by the Board at any time. For more information about the MOST Matching Grant Program, please visit our website at www.most529grant.org or call 800-992-8790 for important information about eligibility requirements as well as limitations.
If you are not a Missouri taxpayer, consider before investing whether your or the designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's qualified tuition program.
The Missouri Higher Education Savings Program (the "Program Trust") is a trust created by the State of Missouri. When you invest in MOST—Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan (the "Plan"), you are purchasing portfolio units issued by the Program Trust. Portfolio units are municipal securities. The Plan has been implemented and is administered by the Missouri Higher Education Savings Program Board. Upromise Investments, Inc., and Upromise Investment Advisors, LLC, serve as the Program Manager and Recordkeeping and Servicing Agent, respectively, with overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations, including effecting transactions. The Vanguard Group, Inc. serves as Investment Manager for the Plan. Vanguard Marketing Corporation, an affiliate of The Vanguard Group, Inc., markets and distributes the Plan. The Plan's portfolios, although they invest in mutual funds, are not mutual funds.
Neither the Vanguard Group Inc. nor its affiliates make a determination or have any obligation to make a determination about the criteria and eligibility for the MOST Matching Grant Program.