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Jaime Herrera Beutler Votes to Help Southwest Washington Families Save Money for Higher Education

Bipartisan bill will increase flexibility for students using tax-free 529 college savings accounts

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Washington, DC, February 25, 2015 | comments
Jaime Herrera Beutler voted today with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to help Southwest Washington students and families save money for higher education.
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Jaime Herrera Beutler voted today with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to help Southwest Washington students and families save money for higher education.

The bill they advanced – H.R. 529 – increases flexibility for students by allowing them to use their 529 college savings to purchase computers, and allows them to redeposit refunds on any qualifying expense back into their 529 account without taxes or penalties. While H.R. 529 seeks to strengthen 529 plans so that more middle-class Americans use them, the president’s 2015 budget proposal would have discouraged use of these plans by imposing new taxes on them.

“Hardworking families in Southwest Washington rely on this tool to manage the increasingly expensive endeavor of sending their kids to college, and this bipartisan solution will make this tool better,” said Jaime. “The amount of debt that young adults and parents are racking up in order to pay for higher education has become a crisis in this country, and it’s restricting choices and making life harder. Congress should be taking steps to make it easier for families to save for college, and that’s exactly what we did today.”

Paying for college, by the numbers:

Twelve million middle-class families currently utilize 529 accounts to save for the higher education of their choice including 4-year college, community college, graduate school, or a technical school (College Savings Foundation). Increasing families’ ability to save for college is growing increasingly important because as of 2013, the average student loan debt for a graduate of public or private nonprofit colleges was $28,400 (The Institute for College Access and Success).

Outstanding student loan balances in the United States add up to $1.16 trillion (CNBC) and college tuition is rising at an average of 3.2% per year (College Board).

In Washington state, there are 127,863 accounts in the state 529 plan, and families have used them to save over $2.6 billion for college, reducing the need for student loans and helping them access college (National Association of State Treasurers).

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Tags: Education