These Gift Cards Pay for College

By Christina Elston

gifts for kids

California Treasurer John Chiang, right, was part of the launch of the Gift of College gift cards featuring ScholarShare and available at Toys “R” Us.
PHOTO COURTESY GIFT OF COLLEGE

Wayne Weber was always the “cool uncle” who liked to delight his nieces and nephews with new toys on gift-giving occasions. But as they grew, he started to think about their futures as well.

Just in time for this holiday season, Weber, CEO of Gift of College Inc., launched Gift of College gift cards, making it easy – and fun – to help support a child’s college education. And you can buy the cards at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us! “You’re there for the kid. You can still get a toy, but this is a great add-on,” Weber says.

The cards, available in amounts from $25-$200, can be deposited directly into a child’s 529 college savings plan through the Gift of College website. In California, they are offered in partnership with the ScholarShare 529 plan. If the kid you have in mind doesn’t have a 529, the card comes with instructions for starting one and covers at least the $25 minimum amount needed to open the account.

As an extension of the Gift of College online college savings registry – which has been available since 2008 – the cards offer a way to make giving more fun. “It is tangible, and I think that’s what makes it special,” says Weber. They can also be a way to introduce the idea of tax-free 529 college savings plans to families that didn’t know about them.

Cards can also be applied to federal or private student loans linked to the Gift of College account. The site has a list of linked providers available, and Weber says they are continually adding new ones.

You can learn more about the cards and the program at www.giftofcollege.com.

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