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State treasurer offers matching funds for colleges savings plan

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State Treasurer Clint Zweifel's office is preparing Missouri’s 529 college savings plan, aka MOST, to allow for dollar-for-dollar matches.

Starting March 1, the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program will offer a match of up to $500 per year and $2,500 per lifetime for qualifying applicants, according to a news release.

"Research and experience make it clear that when a family saves early for higher education, no matter the amount, it increases the likelihood a child will seek an advanced degree," Zweifel said in the release. "The MOST 529 Matching Grant Program is about incentivizing and rewarding families who save and make that investment.

"During the next four years, MOST 529 will provide up to $500,000 in matching funds to help Missourians save for college, technical schools and vocational institutions."

The ability to provide matching funds through the state's college savings program became available in February 2011, when Newton, Mass.-based Upromise Investments became program manager, according to the release. Zweifel noted MOST 529 fees were cut by 44 percent when Upromise became involved.

At least $125,000 will be available per year through the program on a first-come, first-serve basis, and unused funds will roll into the following year, according to the release, which noted that the program is being funded privately.

The application guidelines are as follows:
  • The applicant must have a direct-sold MOST 529 account, one that is not purchased through an adviser.
  • The applicant must be the parent or legal guardian of the beneficiary.
  • The account owner and the beneficiary must be residents of Missouri.
  • The child must be 13 years old or younger when the matching grant is approved.
  • The account owner's household adjusted gross income must be $74,999 or less.
  • Account owners must reapply for the program each year.
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