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Plan for college with a plan

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February 12, 2008

Albany--  The cost of a higher education is getting higher. Many parents have a tough time sending their kids to college. Early planning can help you pay the bills and the state wants to help you do that.

15-year-old Leigha Bowser is sure about one thing.  She likes numbers.

"I'm good at math," said Leigha.

But she's still undecided about how those math skills will equate into her after high-school future. Right now she's subtracted the choices down to two.

She said, "Right now I'm considering medical school and maybe journalism or something."

Either way, her father will have to pay for it.  And he'll do it three times. "Yes, and they're pretty close together," said Jeff Bowser.

He has a 13, 15 and 16-year-old.  Add it all up. "I heard someone say that 4 years at University of Georgia is about $78,000," said Bowser.

College is expensive so some years ago Bowser was looking for ways to save up. He found the Path2College 529 Plan. "It's built up to a nice little nest egg," said Bowser.

The Bowser family has three of the 85,000 Path2College accounts in Georgia. Anyone who wants to save for college can use one of several investment options.

"A lot of people have opened accounts and a lot of people are setting money aside for college," said Chuck Penuel. Plan Director Chuck Penuel says the plan is a good way to avoid the burdens of future loans to pay for higher education.

"Of course the exciting thing is this 529 plan offers great tax benefits to encourage people to save for college," said Penuel.

"All these things I think will help in the long run to meet our goals for education," said Bowser.

As Leigha works towards her goals, she feels a little secure knowing her father thought ahead. "I'm glad that he is. I don't want to have to pay for that all by myself," said Leigha.

She does hope to pitch in somehow. "I want to get the HOPE scholarship," said Leigha.

That way the cost of higher education isn't too heavy, thanks to having a plan.

You can open a 529 Plan account with as little as $25. Any family member or even the future college students themselves can open one.

For more information, you can call 1-877-424-4377 or visit their website, www.path2college529.com.

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