A program to help low-income families save for college is looking for more participants.
The Kansas Investments in Developing Scholars, or KIDS, matches the first $600 that participants contribute to a Learning Quest 529 education savings account.
A 529 is an education savings plan intended to help families set aside money for college. Contributions are tax-deductible, up to a certain amount. Savings can be applied to a four-year university, community college or technical education.
Only 500 families in Kansas use the KIDS program now. State Treasurer Dennis McKinney said he wants more Kansans to know about it.
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"Even though it's been a tough budget year, most legislators saw this was a low-cost program to help families save for higher education," McKinney said. "We are trying to increase participation."
"To those families who are thinking, is it really worth it to save an extra $30, $40 to $50 a month? We are here to say, 'Yes, it is,' and if you do it, we will help you," McKinney said.
"I think it is less expensive to help people start saving for higher education than it is to help them with financial aid after their children have graduated from high school."
To be eligible, participants must be Kansas residents and have a total combined household income of less $29,140 for a family of two, $44,100 for a family of four or $59,060 for a family of six.
"With public education, it can easily cost $10,000 per year — that's at the bare minimum," McKinney said. "We know it is much greater depending on what school and the living expenses. ...
"This is to say if you start saving early, we will help you."
To apply for the program, go to www.kansasstatetreasurer.com or call 866-504-5898. Participants are selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information on Learning Quest accounts, visit www.learningquest.com or call 800-579-2203.