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Frequently Asked Questions

WHY REGISTER YOUR CHILD WITH GIVE COLLEGE?
IT IS SAFE!
TELL ME ABOUT EVENTS
TELL ME ABOUT FUNDRAISERS

WHAT IS A 529 COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN and other basic 529 plan questions?
DO I NEED A 529 COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN TO SIGN UP FOR GIVECOLLEGE?
CAN I CREATE A GIVECOLLEGE PROFILE FOR MY YET-TO-BO-BORN BABY?
WHAT IF I CAN’T FIND A CHILD ON GIVECOLLEGE?
DOES GIVECOLLEGE SHARE MY INFORMATION?
WHAT WILL PEOPLE SEE WHEN THEY SEARCH FOR MY CHILD?
FINANCIAL AID INFORMATION
CAN I SEND YOU A CHECK INSTEAD OF PAYING ON LINE?
IS THERE A MINIMUM CONTRIBUTION?
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

TECHNICAL USER QUESTIONS:
HOW DO I UPDATE MY PROFILE?
WHAT DOES "COLLEGE TYPE" MEAN?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO  "ALLOW MY CHILD ACCESS TO THEIR ACCOUNT"?
HOW CAN I CHANGE MY CHILD'S INFORMATION?
HOW DO I ADD/CHANGE MY CHILD'S 529 COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN INFORMATION?
WHAT DOES PUBLIC VS.PRIVATE MEAN ON MY CHILD'S PROFILE?
WHAT DOES THE ADD CONTRIBUTION BUTTON NEXT TO MY CHILD'S GRAPH DO?

HOW DO I CLOSE MY ACCOUNT?


WHY REGISTER YOUR CHILD WITH GIVECOLLEGE?

GiveCollege provides a comprehensive platform to help families afford college through education (understand the cost of college), tracking tools (comparing your savings versus your anticipated cost of college), and providing fundraisers to help you raise money to pay for college.  

  • It's FREE!
  • It's EASY!
  • It's SAFE!

Starting is a simple as 1-2-3:

  1. Sign Up and ask for contributions to your child’s 529 college savings plan in lieu of traditional gifts through our events or through child specific fundraisers.
  2. Create events and fundraisers to raise money for college outside of special occasions.
  3. Simply register your child and let GiveCollege spread the word so your friends and family learn about how they can contribute to your child’s 529 college savings plan and help you pay for college.

For a full description of how GiveCollege works, visit our how it works page.

   IT IS SAFE!

We take security very seriously at GiveCollege and understand the concern you might have when entering information about your child and their 529 college savings plan. All child information, plan data, and email addresses are securely encrypted in our database.  Credit cards are processed through a secure pay pal transaction.

All money contributed to a 529 plan is transferred directly into the child's 529 plan so you know exactly where your contributions are going and they will be reserved and saved to pay for college.  GiveCollege has tested our transaction process without a hiccup!  Also, for your piece of mind, we have retained a 3rd party auditor to review our transactions on a periodic basis and independently confirm the transparency of all contributions.  If you have ANY QUESTIONS about us or the security of transactions processed through GiveCollege, please ask!

WHAT IS AN EVENT?

An event is a one-time occurrence and an opportunity to invite friends and family to make a contribution to your child's 529 college savings plan in lieu of a traditional gift.  Events include birthdays, holidays, christenings, communions, bar or bat mitzvahs, baby showers, graduations and much more.

HOW DO I CREATE/ADD AN EVENT?

  1. You can create an event inside a child's GiveCollege profile page.  As a parent, go to your dashboard and click on the view profile button for the child with a special event.  As a student, just go to your dashboard.  
  2. From there, click the "Add event" button next to your event heading. 
  3. Complete the form with:
        - Event name
        - Event date
        - Personal message
  4. Invite family and friends to contribute to your child's 529 college savings plan instead of buying a gift.  Although we don't offer the direct link right now, you can also copy the URL address of your event and paste it to facebook or twitter so all of your friends can help your family afford college!
  HOW DO I SHARE AN EVENT?

Once you have created an event for your child, there are a variety of ways to share the event with family and friends:

  • Invite family & friends by clicking on the "Invite Family and Friends" button next to your child's event in their profile page. Send this email to yourself, as it will include a link you can use in a personal email and on evite as suggested below. 
  • Add a link to your event to evite or birthday invitation  (see first bullet point to get link).
  • Follow up with a personal email a few days before the party! Include a link to your child's event (see first bullet point to get link).
  

  HOW DO I INVITE FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO CONTRIBUTE TO MY CHILD'S EVENT?

You can quickly and easily create an event for your child's birthday or other special occasion (see above).  Need an idea for how to ask friends and family to contribute to your event?  Here is a sample invite to get your thoughts going:  



"Charlie is turning 3 and I really can't believe the time has flown by so fast. How many times have you given a gift to a child who has a room full of toys that are barely played with or, as a parent, received too many gifts or duplicate gifts for your child? Well, I recently discovered  GiveCollege.com and I recommend everyone with kids to sign up. This is such a great start to Charlie's future.  All of the Charlie's gifts will be securely processed and deposited into his 529-college savings plan."

WHAT IS A FUNDRAISER?

A fundraiser includes any event intended to raise money for college over a period of time.  Fundraisers have a start date and an end date and allow sponsors to pledge money when a child reaches specified milestones, i.e., for every A or B earned, for every book read over summer vacation, for every lap jogged in a jog-a-thon, for every goal scored in soccer, every hour volunteered, and so on.

HOW DO I CREATE/ADD A FUNDRAISER?

  1. You can create a fundraiser inside a child's GiveCollege profile page.  As a parent, go to your dashboard and click on the view profile button for the child you would like to add an event for.  As a student, just go to your dashboard.  
  2. From there, click the "Add fundraiser" button next to your fundraiser heading. 
  3. Complete the form with:
        - Fundraiser name
        - Start date
        - End date
        - Pledge description
        - Personal message 
  4. Invite friends and family to sponsor your child's fundraiser through GiveCollege.  Although we don't offer the direct link right now, you can also copy the URL address of your event and paste it to facebook or twitter so all of your friends can help your family afford college!
  5. When the fundraiser is complete, you must close the fundraiser.  This will allow you to input the results so GiveCollege can send an email to all of the sponsors letting them know the results so they can contribute based on the sponsorship commitment.  To close your fundraiser, simply follow step 1 to go to the child's profile page and click the "edit fundraiser" button for the fundraiser to be closed.  

WHAT IS A 529 COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN?

The simple answer: A 529 plan is a tax-free college savings vehicle and is very similar to a Roth IRA if you are familiar with those.  If not, don’t worry about it we are going to give you the basics in 4 bullet points:

  • You (and/or your family and friends) make deposits in to a 529 College Savings Plan set up for your child.
  • Watch your money grow over time.
  • Use that money to pay for College.
  • It’s tax-free money!

The less-simple answer:  A 529 college savings plan is a tax-advantaged college savings plan geared towards helping families save for college.  529 plans are named after the Internal Revenue Code section 529, which allows for interest accumulated in a 529 college savings plan to be withdrawn, federally tax-free, as long as it is used for a qualified educational expense.  

Click here for more information and resources.

GiveCollege is not a 529 college savings plan.  GiveCollege is a platform that helps families afford college through educating families about the cost of college, providing tracking tools to track college savings versus anticipated costs of college, and providing a fundraising platform to help families pay for college.  For more information about how GiveCollege works, click here

 

WHERE CAN I GO TO GET INFORMATION ABOUT OPENING A 529 COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN?

There are a variety of options for selecting and opening your child’s 529 college savings plan.  Saving for College offers a comprehensive summary of the various plans and allows you to compare 529 college savings plans by feature so you can make your decision based on what is best for you and your family.

 

ARE THERE TAX ADVANTAGES TO A 529 COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN?

Yes, there are a variety of tax advantages to a using a 529 plan to pay for college.  Please consult your accountant for a complete opinion on your 529 college savings plan tax benefits.  Here are a few simple tax facts about 529 college savings plans:

  • The interest and growth on your investment dollars are tax deferred, and, if they are withdrawn and used for a qualified educational expense, can be withdrawn federally tax-free. 
  • While contributions are not federally tax deductible, certain states may offer tax advantages to residents.  You can check your states guidelines at www.savingforcollege.com.  
  • Contributions to a child's 529 plan are considered a gift and qualify for a gift tax exemption up to $13,000 per year.   Additionally, an acceleration clause allows contributors to put up to $65,000 into a 529 college savings plan in one year and spread the tax exemption over the next five years.     
  • Contributions to 529 plans are exempt from estate taxes yet remain in control of the account owner. 
  • Note:  GiveCollege recommends you consult your tax advisor regarding potential tax benefits for all contributions.  Contributions made through GiveCollege may not have the same tax benefits as contributions made directly to the 529 plan.

DO I NEED A 529 COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN TO SIGN UP FOR GIVECOLLEGE?

Yes and no.

No, you can sign up and register your child with GiveCollege without a 529 college savings plan. You will be able to see your child's approximate cost of college and input your current savings to track your savings versus your goals.  You can return at any time and input your child's 529 plan information and start saving through GiveCollege.

Yes, you will need to open a 529 college savings plan for your child prior to commencing your saving and fundraising through GiveCollege.  Friends and family will not be able to see your child when they search for them and will not be able to contribute to their college savings plan until you have added it to your child's GiveCollege profile page.  You can quickly and easily your child's 529 savings plan by viewing their profile page and clicking on the "edit 529 plan" button near their photo.

For more information about 529 college savings plans and to compare 529 college savings plans, visit www.savingforcollege.com or www.collegesavings.org.  

CAN I CREATE A GIVECOLLEGE PROFILE FOR MY YET-TO-BO-BORN BABY?

Yes, you can create a GiveCollege profile page for your unborn baby.  In fact, we recommend it so you can make college donations part of your registry!  First, you will need to create a 529 college savings plan in a name that can be transferred per the beneficiary transfer guidelines for 529 college savings plans.  You can register the plan at GiveCollege in any name you want and begin saving and fundraising for college. When your baby is born, you can update your profile to change the name on the account.

WHAT IF I CAN’T FIND A CHILD ON GIVECOLLEGE?

If you can't find a child on GiveCollege, you can send an email to the parents and suggest they register with GiveCollege so they can start saving and fundraising to pay for college. To send an email to a parent go to the search for a child page, input the parent's email address and follow the instructions on the right side of the page.

DOES GIVECOLLEGE SHARE MY INFORMATION?

No, GiveCollege does not share your information. To learn more please read our privacy policy.

WHAT WILL PEOPLE SEE WHEN THEY SEARCH FOR MY CHILD?

If you select "public" in your GiveCollege child's profile:  When friends and family search the site for children, they will see their first name, last name, age, hometown and a photo if you choose to add one to your child’s profile.

If you select "private" in your GiveCollege child's profile: When friends and family search the site for children, your child will not appear to friends and family. 

To learn how to update this setting in your GiveCollege child's profile click here.

FINANCIAL AID INFORMATION

The US Department of Education has prepared a Financial Aid Resource Publication which is a comprehensive resource on student financial aid including grants, loans and work-study program.

CAN I SEND YOU A CHECK INSTEAD OF PAYING ON LINE?

GiveCollege is not currently accepting checks. The goal of GiveCollege is to provide a simple one-step solution to contributing to a 529 college savings plan. Sending a check adds steps to the simple process we are proud to create through GiveCollege. If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact us.

IS THERE A MINIMUM CONTRIBUTION?

Yes, most plans have a minimum contribution requirement.  The minimum contribution for ALL 529 college savings plans is less than $50, with most having a minimum contribution of $0-$25.  If you would like specific information for the minimum contribution for a specific plan, please click here

As long as you have contributed an amount that is greater than or equal to the minimum contribution requirement for the 529 college savings plan you are contributing to, your money will be routed to the appropriate 529 college savings plan account.  

If your contribution is below the minimum contribution it will be held in an account where it will be protected and reserved for the intended 529 college savings plan until such time as the minimum contribution is met.  It will then be transferred directly to the 529 college savings plan of your choice.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

PARENTS:  It is FREE to sign up and start learning how to afford college for your child or children! As a parent, your membership includes:

  • The ability to estimate the cost to send your child or children to college
  • Tracking tools to help you understand your savings versus your anticipated costs
  • The ability to invite friends and family to contribute to your child or children's 529-college savings plan
  • The ability to create fundraisers to raise money for your child or children's 529 college savings plan
Note:  Depending on the 529 plan you have, there may be gifting options available directly through your plan with no fees.  You may want to consult with your fund manager directly to review this option.

FRIENDS & FAMILY: GiveCollege charges a service fee of $2 plus 3.99% of anything over $25.  Seems complicated, but it's not.  Here is a quick summary of GiveCollege's service fees:

$25 contribution:  $2 fee

$50 contribution:  $3 fee

$75 contribution:  $4 fee

$100 contribution:  $5 fee

At GiveCollege we are working hard to make it easy and affordable for you to contribute to the 529 college saving plans of your friends and family and is your only feeNo stamps, no envelopes, no sales tax and no shipping and handling and you are certain your contribution is going directly to a 529 plan and is reserved for college!  

Gift Option

Cost to YOU

Cost includes

$50 GiveCollege contribution

$3

Service fee

$50 check

$3.49

$2.99 greeting card plus a stamp to mail check

$50 in-store gift purchase

$5.99

Average 6% sales tax plus $2.99 greeting card

$50 online gift purchase

$10-$20

Average sales tax plus shipping and handling costs

Note:  Depending on the 529 plan your friends or family have, there may be gifting options available directly through the plan with no fees associated with the gifting.  You may want to consult with the child's parents and/or the fund manager directly to review this option.

If you have questions or comments about GiveCollege's pricing, please contact us.

HOW DO I UPDATE MY PROFILE?

  1.  to GiveCollege. 
  2. Click on "Dashboard" button on the top right side of the page.
  3. Click "Edit" next to your name.

WHAT DOES COLLEGE TYPE MEAN?

This menu allows you to select your child's anticipated college type from a few basic options:  2-year public; 4-year in-state public; 4-year out-of-state public; or 4-year private.  Your selection allows GiveCollege to project the cost of your child's college education based on the specified type, his or her age, and the anticipated cost increase for each school type.  This information is displayed on the graph on your child's GiveCollege profile page (the vertical line at the top of the graph), allowing you to track savings versus anticipated costs of college.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO "ALLOW MY CHILD ACCESS TO HIS OR HER ACCOUNT"?

You can allow your child access to his or her account by clicking on the "Edit" button next to the child's name on your GiveCollege dashboard page and checking the box "Allow my child access."  When you do this, your child will be able to log into GiveCollege to edit his or her information, create events, create fundraisers, and invite friends and family to participate.

HOW CAN I CHANGE MY CHILD'S PROFILE INFORMATION?

  1.  to GiveCollege. 
  2. Click on the "Dashboard" button on the top right side of the page.
  3. Click on "View profile" of the child who needs his or her information edited.
  4. Click on "Edit" next to the child's name.  

Here you can update:

  • Your child's photo.
  • Your child's privacy setting:  public vs private.
  • Your child's name.
  • Your child's birthdate.
  • Your child's city and state.
  • Your child's college choice:  here you can input the type of college you think your child will attend.  This is used to project the cost of your child's college education.

HOW DO I ADD/CHANGE MY CHILD'S 529 COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN INFORMATION?

  1.  to GiveCollege. 
  2. Click on the "Dashboard" button on the top right side of the page.
  3. Click on "View profile" of the child who needs his or her information edited.
  4. Click on "Edit 529 plan" next to the child's name. 

WHAT DOES PUBLIC VS. PRIVATE MEAN ON MY CHILD'S PROFILE?

The default value for this drop down category is "public," which means that friends and family will be able to search for your child and locate him or her on GiveCollege, where they can contribute to the child's 529 college savings plan, contribute to events, and/or sponsor fundraisers to help your family pay for college.  When friends and family locate your child on GiveCollege, they will see his or her first name, last name, age, hometown and a photo if you choose to add one to your child’s profile.

If you switch to a "private" setting, friends and family will NOT be able to find your child if they use GiveCollege's search for a child page.  Friends and family will ONLY be able to contribute to his or her 529 college savings plan, contribute to an event, and/or sponsor a fundraiser if you send them a specific link to your child's page, event, and/or fundraiser.  You will continue to have access to your child's profile page where you can understand the projected cost of his or her college education and track savings versus costs of college.

For information on how to change this setting, click here.

WHAT DOES THE ADD CONTRIBUTION BUTTON NEXT TO MY CHILD'S GRAPH DO?

The graph on your child's GiveCollege profile page shows you the amount of money you need to save to pay for college for your child.  Your required savings is the vertical line at the top of the graph and is based on the college type you selected for your child.  Each time you receive money through GiveCollege, your graph is automatically updated to add that money to your savings.  The "Add Contribution" button allows you to manually add contributions collected outside of GiveCollege. We recommend:

  1. Adding the amount of money you have in your existing 529 college savings plan when you register your child with GiveCollege so we can start you off right!
  2. Inputting contributions received outside of GiveCollege as you receive them, and
  3. Periodically adding contributions to adjust your balance to reflect your current 529 college savings plan balance.

All contributions made through GiveCollege can be viewed by clicking the "View Contributions" button on your child's profile page.  Your manually added contributions will show up with you as the contributor.

HOW DO I CLOSE MY ACCOUNT?

If you would like to take your account off line so your children are no longer searchable on GiveCollege, you can change the setting of your child's profile from public to private. By making your profile private, you can still use our educational and tracking tools to help you prepare for college.  Then, when you want to start fundraising again, it’s easy!

If you would like your GiveCollege account completely closed, please contact us by clicking here and we will remove it for you promptly.

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