Events to highlight the importance of planning for the cost of higher education and benefits of the NextGen College Investing Plan
FAME announced today that it will hold Future Faces of Maine 529 celebrations at three locations around the state to raise awareness of the importance of planning for the expense of education after high school, offer assistance to open NextGen College Investing Plan accounts, have fun, and share helpful educational giveaways.
The celebrations are designed to recognize 529 College Savings Day, proclaimed by the United States Congress as a way to raise national awareness and boost interest in Section 529 college saving programs. The events will also encourage families to think about their children’s futures and to start planning now for the costs of education after high school.
The Future Faces of Maine events will take place in:
- Presque Isle: At the Aroostook Centre Mall on Friday, 5/29, from 4 PM to 7PM
- Bangor: At Eastern Maine Community College, Rangeley Hall, on Saturday, 5/30 from 10 AM to 1 PM
- Portland: At the University of Southern Maine, Woodbury Campus Center, on Saturday, 5/30 from 10 AM to 1 PM
At each event, kids will have the opportunity to enjoy face painting and a photo booth, and parents can talk to a NextGen representative for information about and help opening a NextGen account. For those who already have accounts, NextGen representatives will share information about expanded matching grants, including the one-time $100 Automated Funding Grant. Every child who attends will receive a Future Faces of Maine Starter Pack — a lunch bag filled with educational information and other giveaways. The first 150 families to attend each event will also receive a $25 Amazon gift card. Families do not need to open a NextGen account to receive the Starter Pack or $25 Amazon gift card.
“These events offer a great opportunity for families in Maine to begin planning for higher education,” said FAME Chief Executive Officer Bruce Wagner. “College affordability can be a concern for Maine families, but FAME is here to help.”
Wagner added that FAME has set a goal to grow the number of Maine citizens with quality in-state jobs. Providing educational events such as these is one way to accomplish that goal, he said.
“At tuition time, every dollar in a college investing account is one that does not need to be borrowed and repaid later with interest,” continued Wagner. “Children with college savings are almost seven times more likely to pursue higher education.”¹
FAME and other partners are working together to make higher education more attainable to all Maine families, Wagner explained. In January, FAME announced that it had increased the amounts of NextGen matching grants to help Maine families that invest for education after high school. The NextStep Matching Grant was tripled to a maximum $300 per year and the Automated Funding Grant doubled to $100.
“Hundreds of dollars in grant money are available to eligible Maine families annually,” said Wagner. “We want to make sure that no Maine family leaves money on the table.”
FAME created a robust set of grants in an effort to help encourage Maine families to invest in their children’s future. Over 40,000 Maine children have NextGen accounts. Following is a summary of the NextGen matching grants for Maine residents:
- A $200 Initial Matching Grant is available to eligible Maine accounts that are opened with as little as $25 in the Client Direct Series or $50 in the Client Select Series.
- NextStep Matching Grant provides a 50% match on eligible contributions per calendar year, up to a $300 match per year. For Example:
- Contribute $50—get a $25 matching grant
- Contribute $160—get an $80 matching grant
- Contribute $600—get a $300 matching grant
- One-Time $100 Automated Funding Grant is available to eligible accounts that make automatic contributions through payroll deduction or from a checking or savings account. The Automated Funding Grant is awarded after six consecutive automated contributions no less than quarterly in frequency.²
Families with children who are eligible³ for the $500 Harold Alfond College Challenge Grant may open a NextGen account without making an initial contribution. For every baby born a Maine resident since 2013, the Alfond Scholarship Foundation invests a $500 Alfond Grant for his or her future qualified higher education expenses.
See Terms and Conditions of Maine Grant Programs for other conditions and restrictions that apply. Grants are subject to change.
NextGen is a Section 529 plan administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Before you invest in NextGen, request a NextGen Program Description from your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor or Maine Distribution Agent or call Merrill Edge at 1-877-463-9843 and read it carefully. The Program Description contains more complete information, including investment objectives, charges, expenses and risks of investing in NextGen, which you should carefully consider before investing. You also should consider whether your or your designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s Section 529 plan. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, a registered broker-dealer, member SIPC, is the program manager and underwriter.
¹Elliott & Beverly, 2011; American Journal of Education.
²Dollar Cost Averaging – Dollar cost averaging and other periodic investments do not ensure a profit and do not protect against loss in declining markets. Such a plan involves continuous investment in securities, regardless of fluctuating price levels of such securities. Investors should consider their financial ability to continue their purchases through periods of high or low price levels.
³Children born as Maine residents since January 1, 2013