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Senators Collins, Hassan Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Families More Easily Save for College

Bill Cuts Taxes for Families Who Save for College & Allows Families to Roll Unused Savings into Retirement Accounts

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced bipartisan legislation to help parents in Maine, New Hampshire, and across the country save for college. The Helping Parents Save for College Act would encourage families to invest in a 529 education savings account, which can be used to pay for a two- or four-year college education or vocational school. The legislation would provide tax cuts for families who save for college and allow families to roll unused college savings into a child’s retirement account.


“Education plays a vital role in opening the doors of opportunity to all Americans, but the rising cost of a college education threatens to close those doors to many families across the country,” said Senator Collins. “529 plans are a great option for parents to save for college expenses, but uncertainty about whether their children will choose to pursue post-secondary education years in the future can be a deterrent to opening and investing in an account. Our bipartisan bill would address this barrier by improving the flexibility of 529 plans for low- and middle-income households, helping more parents to financially prepare and more children to achieve their dreams.”


“The high cost of higher education is hurting families’ bottom lines and standing in the way of students’ success,” said Senator Hassan. “That’s why Senator Collins and I introduced bipartisan legislation that takes commonsense steps to make it easier for families to save for their child’s education, including by cutting taxes for families who put away money for college. I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this bill that will help ease the cost of higher education, strengthen our economy, and enable more young people to gain the skills that they need to thrive.”


“As administrators of Maine’s Section 529 education savings plan, NextGen 529®, FAME supports these proposed changes. We appreciate Senator Collins’s efforts to make 529 education savings accounts more flexible and attractive to consumers,” said William Norbert, FAME Governmental Affairs and Communications Manager.


"We are excited by and grateful to Senators Collins and Hassan for sponsoring this bill to extend the Savers Credit to 529 education savings plan contributions, and to also allow families to roll unused funds in a 529 plan into an IRA," said Colleen Quint, President and CEO of the Alfond Scholarship Foundation. "We know that families care about their children's future and that they want to build on the $500 Alfond Grant that we award to every Maine baby. We also know that families aren't always sure what the future will hold and sometimes hesitate to take that step to open an account and save because they might want or need some flexibility down the road. This bill provides just that kind of reassurance that funds invested for their child's future will, indeed, be available for their future even if all of the resources saved are not needed for education. Programs like ours across the country are looking for ways to encourage families to take that first step in saving for their child's future. This bill will help more families take that step with confidence."


Studies have shown that young people who have savings accounts – even with modest balances – are more likely to attend and complete college. The Helping Parents Save for College Act would incentivize lower- and middle-income families to invest in 529 college saving accounts by providing a tax credit that covers 50 percent of low- and middle-income families’ contributions. It would also allow families who do not use the funds in their 529 account to roll those dollars into a Roth IRA retirement account – which means that if a child does not choose to attend college, families can still take advantage of the savings.


The Helping Parents Save for College Act builds on Senators Collins and Hassan’s work to expand higher education and workforce development opportunities to more Americans. The 2022 government funding bill that was recently signed into law included $20 million that the Senators worked to secure to help students at colleges in rural communities meet their education goals and access employment opportunities. In March 2021, Senators Collins and Hassan also joined in introducing the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, which would expand the Pell Grant to cover workforce training programs.


To read the bill text, click here. For the one-pager, click here.




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