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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The Promise

What is a 529 account?

This is the State of Indiana’s college savings plan. It is a type of investment account specifically created to help families save for college and career training.  The money in this account can be used at most two-year colleges, four-year colleges, and other career training programs where federal financial aid is accepted. This account also provides a state tax credit for Hoosiers.

You can learn more about CollegeChoice 529 by visiting the Indiana Education Savings Authority website. Promise Indiana is administered by the Indiana Youth Institute and is neither affiliated with nor an authorized distributor of, the CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan and does not solicit investments or provide investment advice.

Why talk about college and careers with young students?

We believe students can dream about their futures as early as kindergarten! Part of the goal of the Promise is to generate conversation and curiosity about college, even among our youngest students and their parents. It’s never too early to dream about the future. The Promise is part of a K-12 approach and the activities are an age-appropriate introduction to college and career discovery.

What is the Promise Community Matching Fund?

Essentially, it is a community piggy bank where generous donors and businesses can pool their donations to support incentives and matching funds for children enrolled in DeKalb County Promise.

 

Registration

What does it cost to participate?

Through the Promise, you can sign up for a CollegeChoice 529 account with no initial contribution. The normal fee for signing up for an account has been waived. And a Community Sponsor is depositing the first $25 into the account for eligible students. 

We are a home-school family. Can we still participate?

Yes! Sign up here!

If I opt-out now, will I have the opportunity to sign up at a later date?

Yes! Promise Indiana DeKalb County works on a rolling enrollment calendar, this means you can sign up at any time. However, the longer funds are invested, the more opportunity they have to grow. 

I have a child entering 3rd grade and another entering 8th grade. Can I enroll both of them?

Yes! You may enroll both of your children and both are eligible for the community match dollars, as long as they are residents or DeKalb County. 

 

College Choice 529 Accounts

Are these Promise accounts any different than other College Choice 529 accounts?

Families who create an account through Promise Indiana are establishing a primary CollegeChoice 529 direct savings plan for their child, owned by the parent or guardian who signs up. These accounts are “tagged” as being part of Promise Indiana so that we can administer the community contributions to eligible students. 

What happens if my child decides not to continue their education beyond high school?

You may change the beneficiary to another “eligible” family member with no tax penalty.  Even if your child’s path doesn’t include any type of post-secondary education, you still have options. You are the owner and you control the account.

As long as the new beneficiary is a family member—a sibling, first cousin, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or even yourself—the money can be used for qualified education expenses without incurring income taxes or penalties. Qualified expenses include tuition, required fees, books, supplies, computer-related expenses, even room and board for someone who is at least a half-time student.​​ The $25 enrollment incentive and any contributions you make to the account remain yours. 

For questions related to changing the beneficiary on an account, please contact CollegeChoice directly.

What if my child already has a 529 account?

That’s great! If you have a CollegeChoice 529 Direct savings account, you can link your account to Promise Indiana DeKalb County. Contact us to learn how to link your student’s account.

Do I have to be the child’s parent to set up a College Choice 529 account?

No, any adult who wants to invest in a student’s future can start an account for that student, including but not limited to parents, legal guardians, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, or caregivers.

If I sign up for an account, who has access to the personal information I provide?

Your personal information will be protected and will only be used to open the account and not shared with a third party.​​

Can a 529 be used for other education – besides college – for example, a certificate?

Yes! 529 accounts can be used for any program that accepts federal financial aid. This includes two-and four-year colleges, graduate schools (including law and medical), and vocational or technical schools. 529 account funds can be used for many higher education expenses, including tuition, fees, and certain room and board costs.

Can a College Choice 529 account only be used in Indiana?

Yes! Your student can use their account funds at any eligible school around the country and abroad—not just in Indiana. This includes two-and four-year colleges, graduate schools (including law and medical), and vocational or technical schools.

What if I want to use an account advisor?

You may choose to use an advisor to manage the investments in your College Choice 529 account; however “advised” 529 accounts are not eligible for community match dollars from Promise Indiana DeKalb County. ​​

How can I keep track of the account?

You will begin receiving quarterly statements on your CollegeChoice 529 account in the first quarter of the year. You can also keep track of the funds in your direct account through quarterly statements and through the CollegeChoice 529 website.

When will the incentive money be deposited into the account?

Promise Indiana DeKalb County makes community deposits in June and December. Once CollegeChoice receives the funds, they take an additional 7-10 days to be applied to the student’s account.  

Can I make gifts to the CollegeChoice 529 at other times? Can friends and family also make gifts to my child’s account?

You can contribute to your 529 account anytime at www.collegechoicedirect.com, and friends and family can make a gift at any time by using your unique Ugift code, which you can provide to them. Login to your account or visit Ugift529.com to learn more.

Can I contribute to the College Choice 529 account through my employer?

Yes. Contact your Human Resources department to learn how to set up a payroll deduction.

Does my child have access to the funds when he/she turns 18 years of age?

The CollegeChoice 529 account continues to be under the control of the account owner, even if the beneficiary reaches the age of 18.

 

Miscellaneous

Is a 529 account only for kids?

There is no maximum age for a 529 plan. As long as your school is eligible, you can use your 529 plan assets – even if you’re not attending full-time. However, community match dollars are only for children age 4 through 12th grade at this time.

What if I don’t want to sign the waiver?

If you are not comfortable signing the waiver, then you will not be able to participate in the DeKalb County Promise program.