BOISE — IDeal, Idaho’s 529 College Savings Program, reports that Idahoans have $47 million more in IDeal college savings accounts than they did this time last year, and the total number of IDeal college savings accounts held by Idahoans grew by 3 percent.
The findings are part of a new report, “State of College Financial Preparedness in Idaho,” released by IDeal to shed light on how Idaho families are preparing for the cost of higher education and to offer suggestions for how more people can take advantage of the program.
The IDeal report provides a benchmark for growth over coming years; it intends to demonstrate good news, as well as room for improvement. The report data revealed several encouraging facts:
- About 800 more Idaho students have someone saving for their future college costs with IDeal, compared to this time last year.
- Above average growth reflects efforts on the part of IDeal, educators and community leaders to spread the word about the program to all corners of the state.
- Lincoln County led central Idaho in growth in account ownership.
- Blaine County residents used $1.5 million through IDeal toward higher education over the past year.
Christine Stoll, executive director of IDeal, said in a statement, “Widespread reliance on student loans cannot be the status quo if we wish to sustain the work being done across our state to improve college-going rates. High loan balances can stall economic adulthood and lead to missed financial opportunities. Idaho’s work to fund more scholarships is a meaningful and necessary first step. Long term, families also need a financial tool over which they have more direct control — such as Idaho’s 529 College Savings Program.”
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IDeal offers tax-advantaged savings and investment plans. Money saved through an IDeal account can be used at all higher education institutions that participate in student-aid programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education.