(go to podcast page to hear interview with Larson)
During a swing through West Point Thursday, Deputy State Treasurer Ty Larson stopped by the KTIC Newsroom to talk about the groundbreaking legislation that promotes Nebraskans’ access to higher education through innovative college savings initiatives.
LB 610 legislation establishes the following programs:
- The Meadowlark Program: A NEST account will be opened for every baby born on or after January 1, 2020 who is a resident of Nebraska at the time of birth. Beneficiaries under the age of 30 who pursue higher education within the state will have access to these funds for qualified higher education expenses. Funding will begin the year following the birth of the child and parents/guardians have the ability to opt out of the program.
- The Employer Matching Contribution Incentive Program: This program provides incentive payments to employers who match their employee’s contribution into a NEST Program account. Beginning January 1, 2022, employers who partially or fully match employees’ contributions in the previous year, can apply for and receive an incentive payment of 25 percent of their matched contributions, up to $2,000 per employee per year. The program may award up to $250,000 in total incentives per year.
- The Low-Income Matching Scholarship Program: Beginning January 1, 2022, 200 percent of an account owner’s contribution to a NEST Program account will be matched if the beneficiary is part of a family with a household income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or 100 percent of contributions if the beneficiary’s household income is more than 200 percent but less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level, up to $1,000 per participant per year. The program may award up to $250,000 in total scholarships per year. Beneficiaries under the age of 30 who pursue higher education within the state will have access to the matched funds for qualified higher education expenses.
“This legislation is a cornerstone of my platform as Treasurer. I am delighted to see it pass so early in my term, and heartened by the unanimous support it has received,” said Treasurer Murante. “Every Nebraskan with a dream of higher education deserves that opportunity, and this legislation helps future generations overcome the financial obstacles in their path. I will continue to dedicate my time and efforts to build upon this momentum and best serve the people of Nebraska.”
Incentives and scholarship contributions for the Employer and Low-Income Matching Programs will be allocated from a private-public partnership with no funding from Nebraska’s taxpayers.
“From the beginning NEST 529 has been a trailblazer in innovative college savings support, and this legislation underscores and magnifies the Treasurer’s and our collective mission even further,” said Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha. “We look forward to these great financial benefits for Nebraskans and all families who take advantage of the NEST 529 college savings program.”
To read the full bill, visit https://nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/106/PDF/Slip/LB610.pdf
About NEST 529
NEST 529 is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings program and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and State Farm 529 Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 264,000 accounts, including over 85,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.