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’Tis the Season for College Savings: Sallie Mae Encourages Wrapping Up The Year With the Gift of College


Smart Holiday Shopping Can Mean Savings for Your Child’s Higher Education

NEWTON, Mass., Dec. 16, 2010 - The holidays don’t need to be a time of splurging on your children; they can also be a time of saving for your children! Many parents worry about how they’re going to save for college. The holiday season is the perfect time for family members and friends to spread the joy of higher education while benefiting from estate planning and potential tax benefits.

“The holidays are a time of giving and year-end financial planning,” said Jeff Howkins, president of Sallie Mae subsidiary Upromise Investments. “Gift-givers can give the gift of a contribution to a 529 college savings plan account, and at the same time they may benefit from smart financial planning.”

Friends and family can contribute money for college into a 529 college savings plan account and benefit from tax-deferred growth and possible year-end tax advantages as many states provide income tax deductions or credits for contributions into 529 plans. Anyone, including parents and grandparents can contribute up to $13,000 ($26,000 if married filing jointly) in a single year without incurring gift taxes. A special rule allows married couples to gift up to $130,000 ($65,000 if single) as long as no additional gifts are made to that beneficiary over a five-year period*. For nearly all 529 plans administered by Sallie Mae’s Upromise Investments, gifts can also be given for a child’s 529 college savings plan account using Ugift. Information on each state’s 529 Plan including tax advantages is available at

Start your holiday shopping at to avoid the lines and earn 1-25 percent back in college savings. Upromise is giving holiday shoppers who pay with the Upromise credit card an additional 2 percent back in college savings at more than 700 participating online retailers. In fact, last holiday season members received $12 million in college savings rewards from eligible holiday spending. Upromise is free to join and members have earned $575 million in college savings from hundreds of participating merchants by shopping online, buying gas or groceries, booking travel and dining out. Rewards can be directed to any beneficiary and may be invested in tax-advantaged 529 college savings plans administered by Upromise Investments (subject to meeting certain requirements), deposited in a high-yield savings account with Sallie Mae Bank, used to pay down an eligible student loan or simply withdrawn for college or other expenses.

*In the event the donor does not survive the five-year period, a pro-rated amount will revert to the donor’s taxable estate.

Before investing in any 529 plan, you should consider whether your or the designated beneficiary’s home state offers a 529 plan that provides its taxpayers with state tax and other benefits that are only available through the home state’s 529 plan.


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