GUEST

Column: Education savings are key to success

By State Treasurer Randy McDaniel

As we settle into a new year, most of us are glad 2020 is in the rearview mirror. Through all the loss and disruption, Oklahomans still found a way to persevere in a year that was especially difficult.

A commitment many Oklahoma families continued to make in 2020 was to save for the future of their children and grandchildren. Education is as imperative now as it ever has been, and the success of the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan (OCSP) is proof that Oklahomans place a high priority on education.

In 2020, OCSP was named Best in Class by independent analysts at MorningstarTM,1 surpassed over $1 billion in assets under management, added new investment options, lowered the contribution minimum to $25 and reduced fees by 16 percent. These positive developments should result in even greater participation.

Now, more than ever, is the right time for Oklahoma families to increase the future career opportunities and earnings potential of their children. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of graduates with a bachelor’s degree is 65 percent higher than those who only completed high school.2

When used for qualified expenses, money in an OCSP account grows tax-free and can be spent at accredited colleges and universities across the United States and around the world. Funds can also be used at community colleges, private schools and technology centers.

Qualified withdrawals include tuition, fees, room and board, and even technology needs. In addition, contributions made to OCSP provide Oklahomans with a state income tax deduction. Limitations apply.

As we move forward and make plans for the year, I encourage families to invest in the future of their children and grandchildren by contributing to an OCSP account. The investment, whether big or small, raises expectations and inspires students to study more and dream big as they strive for success in school and in life.

For more information or to open an account visit https://www.ok4saving.org/.