Mitch Seabaugh, of Sharpsburg, who served more than 10 years as District 28 state Senator before leaving in 2011 to become deputy state treasurer, is now Georgia’s Path2College 529 Plan director. He’s currently traveling around the state to promote the college savings plan. He was in Carrollton Tuesday to talk about the plan at the Carrollton Rotary Club meeting.
“The Path2College plan provides tax deferred earnings and tax-free withdrawals,” Seabaugh said. “It’s the official state plan, and it’s not associated with any investment agency. As of Dec. 31, 103,800 accounts have been opened and $1.2 billion has been invested. The plan is listed in Clark Howard’s Dean’s List.”
These college savings plans date back to 1996 when Congress created Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. Section 529 plans are officially known as qualified tuition programs under federal law and have become one of the top ways to save for college. States have their own individually administered 529 programs.
“529 funds can be used for tuition and fees, books and certain room and board expenses,” Seabaugh said. “A Path2College plan can be started with as little as $25. Anyone with a social security number can open the account for a student beneficiary, including parents, grandparents, siblings, other relatives, friends or even for yourself.”
He said the plan has seven different investment options, and the contributor can choose any one or a combination. They include managed allocation, aggressive managed allocation, 100 percent equity, balanced fund, 100 percent fixed income, money market and guaranteed. The formula can be changed once per year.
“Students can use the money at a public or private school, in-state or out-of-state or at a trade or technical school,” Seabaugh said. “It can be used for undergraduate or graduate studies.”
He said two September sweepstakes drawings are being held to encourage people to invest in the Georgia 529 college savings accounts, one is for current account holders and another to get people to look at the accounts. The winner will get $10,529 put into a Path2College account, while another $10,529 will go to the school the student is attending.
Seabaugh said people can learn more about the Path2College program by going online to www.path2college529.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-877-424-4377.
Here are some other highlights of the Path2College 529 Plan:
• managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., part of the TIAA-CREF group of companies;
• plan fees vary from annual rates of 0.28 to 0.41 percent of the average daily net assets in the account;
• no income limitations and low minimum contributions;
• maximum account contribution level of $235,000 level;
• ability to transfer to another beneficiary;
• and online access to the account 24 hours per day, with quarterly and annual statements of activity.