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For Immediate Release

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September 21, 2011

Texas Families Have Several Options to Start Saving Early for College

(AUSTIN) – September is college savings month, and Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reminds parents around the state about the options they have to make their children’s college education more affordable.

“Families can take advantage of college savings plans administered by the state of Texas to ease their concerns about college costs rising each year,” said Combs. “Families can invest in the plans to help their children receive valuable education and skills needed for well-paying jobs. It is very important to have an educated workforce for Texas to thrive in a competitive economic climate.”

The state’s prepaid tuition plan, the Texas Tuition Promise Fund (TTPF), allows families to prepay all or part of their children’s future undergraduate tuition and required fees at Texas public universities and community colleges at today’s prices. To help fit family budgets, the program offers flexibility in the amount of prepaid tuition that can be bought as well as a variety of payment options.

“Enrolling in TTPF is a great way to prepay undergraduate tuition and required fees for Texas public colleges,” Combs said. “But it does not cover other college costs such as room and board, books and course fees, which parents know can be expensive as well. That is why Texas also offers college savings plans to help parents save and pay for those costs.”

The state’s college savings plans, commonly referred to as 529 Savings Plans, are investment accounts with portfolios tailored to different savings timelines. There are portfolios based on how close a student is to entering college or static portfolios where the investment does not change with the student’s age. Assets in these plans can be used to pay for college costs including undergraduate and graduate tuition, room and board, required books and course fees.

Earnings on all the plans are tax-free if used for qualified higher education expenses, and the assets of the plans do not count in determining eligibility for Texas state-funded financial aid.

To find more information about Texas’ state-sponsored college savings options, as well as scholarships and financial aid, families can go to www.everychanceeverytexan.org. Information on the plans is also available by phone at 1-800-445-GRAD, select option #5 for the Texas Tuition Promise Fund, #3 for the direct-sold Texas College Savings Plan and #4 for the advisor-sold LoneStar 529 Plan. Two public service announcements are also available at: http://www.window.state.tx.us/newsinfo/psa/

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