Cook: Investing in young Hoosiers' futures

Posted by: Andi Sommers  | Friday, January 29, 2021 8:57 am

As college costs continue to rise, more and more parents are choosing to use Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Savings Plans to help their child get the skills they need for the workforce while taking on less student loan debt. This long-term savings plan has traditionally been used to pay for college and technical schools, and Hoosier families can now use these savings for qualified apprenticeship programs. This additional flexibility in how Hoosiers can spend their CollegeChoice 529 savings has the potential to reach more students than ever before to ensure they have an opportunity to follow a career path that best suits their talents.

As of Dec. 31, 2020, over 64,000 Hoosiers in House District 32 put away more than $1.1 billion into their children's College Choice 529 Savings Plans. Statewide, that figure is upwards of $6 billion. This is billions of dollars that young Hoosiers will not have to borrow to pay for their education or qualified training costs.

Many students often feel the pressure to use those dollars saved to pursue a traditional four-year degree even if it may not be the best educational path for them. A recent change in the federal statute will now deem apprenticeship programs registered by the Secretary of Labor as acceptable expenses with this long-term savings plan.

This comes at a time when Indiana is working to skill up its workforce and fill thousands of unfilled, high-paying positions across the state. Many of these jobs are in skilled trades, which may require an applicant to undergo apprenticeship training. Including these programs as qualified costs creates an incentive for students to take on opportunities in a wide range of fields.

It is clear Hoosiers are working hard to prepare their children to get the education and skills they need to join a global workforce. With qualified apprenticeship programs added to the list of acceptable educational expenses for the CollegeChoice 529 Savings Plan, parents can continue saving, knowing a wide range of educational paths are available for their child. If you have any input regarding this long-term savings program, feel free to contact my office at 317-232-9863 or H32@iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of Tipton County
and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.
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