ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan

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California parents looking to their employers for college savings help

Millennial parents would feel more confident than their older peers opening a 529 plan if it were offered through work, new research reveals
May 23, 2019

Sacramento, Calif. – Many California parents are looking to their employers for help with their college savings needs, according to new research from ScholarShare 529, California’s official college savings plan. The 2019 ScholarShare Marketplace Study of more than 1,000 California parents planning to save to help their children afford college reveals wide-ranging attitudes among Millennial, Gen X and Boomer California parents. Key findings include:

  • 72 percent would feel more confident choosing a 529 plan if it were available through work.  
  • 79 percent say a workplace college savings program shows the firm cares about its employees.
  • 83 percent would be interested in learning more about a workplace college savings program.

Among survey respondents, millennials report the most appetite for employer assistance with their college savings needs. More millennial respondents reported being interested in learning more about a college savings program offered through their employer than their Gen X and Boomer peers. In addition, 79 percent of millennial respondents said they would feel more confident choosing a 529 plan if it were available through work, compared to only 68 percent of Gen X respondents and 71 percent of Boomers who expressed the same sentiment.

“This research confirms what we have long suspected – that employees are increasingly looking to their employers for help achieving their college savings goals,” said Julio Martinez, executive director of the ScholarShare Investment Board. “Employers can make a real difference in their employees’ lives by partnering with the ScholarShare 529 team to offer a workplace college savings program, which is free and easy to administer.”

Millennial respondents’ interest in employer assistance with college savings is correlated with their own college debt, views about helping their kids fund college, and concerns about their kids’ futures.

  • Slammed by their own college debt. 62 percent of millennials who had college loans had difficulty repaying them, and 38 percent are still repaying them. In addition, 68 percent of millennials reported they delayed buying a home because of their student loans.
  • Willing to sacrifice more. More millennial respondents anticipate needing to work a second job (63 percent), delay their retirement (69 percent) or help their kids repay their loans after college (80 percent) than Gen X and Boomer respondents.
  • Worried about funding. More millennial respondents are worried about their child being overwhelmed by college debt (68 percent) and fear their child may not be able to attend college because of the cost (56 percent) than Gen X and Boomer respondents.

Employers can offer ScholarShare 529 to employees with confidence, knowing the plan has competitive fees and strong long-term investment performance, an established history of partnering with employers, and it is easy and free to implement. To learn more about the ScholarShare 529 Workplace Savings Program, visit www.ScholarShare529.com/employer.

About ScholarShare 529
ScholarShare 529 serves as California’s official college savings plan. Administered by the ScholarShare Investment Board, ScholarShare 529 provides families with a valuable tool that offers a diverse set of investment options, tax-deferred growth, and withdrawals free from state and federal taxes when used for qualified higher education expenses, such as tuition and fees, books, certain room and board costs, computer equipment, and other required supplies. ScholarShare 529 manages over $9.2 billion in plan assets across more than 322,000 ScholarShare 529 accounts as of 4/30/19.

To open a ScholarShare 529 account or get more information about the plan, visit www.ScholarShare529.com. For information about the ScholarShare Investment Board, visit www.treasurer.ca.gov/scholarshare, like ScholarShare 529 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scholarshare529, and follow them on Twitter at @ScholarShare529.

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