by Stephanie Butzer
(Originally published December 31, 2019, by The Denver Channel)
Every baby born or adopted in Colorado can get a $100 contribution to a college savings account, thanks to a new program that goes into effect Jan. 1.
CollegeInvest is Colorado’s not-for-profit state agency that helps people break down the barriers blocking them from attaining a higher education. Gov. Jared Polis partnered with CollegeInvest to launch First Step, which, starting Jan. 1, 2020, offers a $100 contribution to the child’s CollegeInvest 529 college savings account. Money saved in this account can be used at any public or private college, university, community college or vocational school anywhere in the country.
First Step was created to help Colorado families save for their child’s post-secondary education, to nurture their aspirations for a higher education and to help reduce student loan debt, particularly for lower- and middle-class families.
CollegeInvest CEO Angela Baier said every dollar counts when it comes to education.
“Opening a CollegeInvest 529 college savings account for a child at birth allows more time for savings to accumulate and interest to accrue,” she said. “And, we know that having a college savings account has significant impact on the development of college-bound identity, especially among children of limited opportunity.“
Legislation for this move was passed with bipartisan support in 2019 and HB19-1280 was officially signed into law in May.
Polis said CollegeInvest is a critical tool for parents saving for their child’s education.
“This new law will incentivize the use of these tools by providing birth or adoptive parents with $100 to kick start their child’s savings,” he said. “We know that students with some college savings from low- and middle-income families are three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate than those without a 529 plan. I appreciate the support of Representative (Leslie) Herod, Senator (Steve) Fenberg, Speaker (KC) Becker and other state legislators as well as their efforts to get this important bill passed.”
Herod, who was the primary sponsor of the legislation, said First Step is a “down payment on the future of our state.”
This one-time $100 contribution is only available to children born or adopted in Colorado starting on Jan. 1, 2020. To learn more, call 1-800-448-2424 or visit the CollegeInvest website here.