Jefferson City, MO — Since launching earlier this year, State Treasurer Eric Schmitt’s MOST 529 outreach program has increased awareness and education savings rates in rural counties all across Missouri.
The outreach program launched in February 2018. Three rural Missouri counties—Bates, Macon and Perry— were selected by the State Treasurer’s Office, as research indicated the counties contained a high number of high school graduates moving on to college, but also had a low participation in the MOST 529 savings program.
“I have made it a high priority to ensure more Missouri parents know about the benefits of the MOST 529 savings plan,” Schmitt said. “Education is one of the wisest investments you can make. As a parent who has MOST accounts for my own children, I truly believe creating a MOST 529 savings account sends a message to your children that you believe in them and that you want them to succeed.”
Treasurer Schmitt and staff from the Treasurer’s Office travelled to all three counties multiple times and met with business leaders, school groups and social organizations to establish partnerships in an effort to promote education savings in the community. Targeted social media was also heavily utilized to promote the MOST program. All three counties showed increases in MOST 529 enrollment, with Perry County taking the top spot.
Back in January of this year, Perry County had a total of 68 MOST accounts. After outreach efforts by the Treasurer’s Office, Perry County now has 97 accounts, an increase of around 40%. Enrollment has increased in Macon County around 10% and 3.5% in Bates County.
Following the success of this outreach program, Treasurer Schmitt plans on applying similar strategies to other rural Missouri counties in the future.
Treasurer Schmitt recognized early in his term the need to make Missourians aware of this program. Since taking office, the MOST program has seen exponential growth including a 7.70% increase in the net number of accounts, a 17.5% increase in assets and a rise in the average account balance of around 9%. Missouri currently has over 160,000 MOST accounts, with over $3 billion in assets.
Recognized as one of the top 529 programs in the nations due to its low fees and high performance, MOST 529 is a tax-advantaged program that empowers Missourians to save for education including K-12 tuition and qualified higher education expenses. The plan offers federal and state tax benefits, low costs and flexible ways to contribute. To learn more about MOST, visit MissouriMOST.org.