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ESAs have become a national trend. Florida, Arizona, Tennessee, and Mississippi states are now offering ESA programs. More than 10 states are also about to join the bandwagon and have considered ESA legislation in their recent legislative sessions. Here is an overview of the reasons why policymakers, parents, and other educational stakeholders should support ESA accounts:

A Great Saving

ESA provides parents with 85-95 percent state-based funding per student, which they can use to purchase approved education expenses like books and tuition. Administrative costs are also covered by designating 3 to 8 percent of the remaining funding. It can therefore be a vehicle for helping children attend private schools that are less expensive, hence a real saving for local and state school districts.

ESAs Fill a Need

Since their inception, ESAs have been focused in special needs population. This is because many schools lack staff and the necessary resources to address educational needs of children. ESAs empower parents to choose schools that best fit the educational needs of their children.

Value and Efficiency

Educational policy makers agree that schools need to be run efficiently. However, this is not always possible as the current education systems in various states are riddled with obstinate incentive. ESAs provide parents with a chance to spend their resources on the educational needs of their children. Accordingly, parents have the incentives to maximize the value of education that their children receive. The choice of school provides parents with a good opportunity to make educational choices.

It spurs Educational Innovation

By empowering parents to customize their educational markets, ESAs help propel educational innovation. Market forces will catch up with both private and public schools. If the school suppliers are responsive to the market forces, they will adapt and eventually survive. However, if they don’t, they will fail. These forces and market pressures will propel valuable changes in the educational marketplace in the same way that higher education has been revolutionalized globally by educational options such as open online courses—providing education to many students without the need to be in campus.

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College is important. By completing a degree, you are planning your future career and ensuring that you have a job that will help you support yourself and your family. However, financing a college education is not easy. Most students have to take on extensive college loans to help them through college and they find it extremely difficult to make ends meet. As a parent, what can you do to ensure that your children can afford college? How can you save enough money to ensure that your child is not left holding a ton of student loans?

Saving For College IS Easy and Affordable

You can save for your child’s education by setting up college 529 Plans. A college 529 Plan is designed to help students and families plan for their education through a special tax-deductible program. These programs are applicable on almost any college and university and you can apply to any university with this kind of saving plan. At present, there are two types of plans available: savings and prepaid.

1. Savings plans are like 401K plans. Other features of a savings 529 plan are as follows-
a. There is no lock on college costs
b. All expenses included tuition, room and board, books, computer, mandatory fees, etc. are covered in this savings plan
c. Some plans have contribution limits but the limits are usually more than $200,000.
d. With this kind of plan, you choose the investment option and the value of your savings increases or decreases based on the option. Your investment is also subject to market risk. You can evaluate the value of your investment by checking the 529-plan quarterly performance.
e. There is no age limit, no residency requirement, and enrollment is possible all through the year.

2. Prepaid plans are also available and this plan allows you to pre-pay or pay all the costs of an in-state college education.
a. These plans have a limited enrollment period.
b. You can lock the tuition rates at selected public and private colleges and universities.
c. Only a few limited options are covered under this plan but some plans cover almost everything.
d. State plans are offered and they are guaranteed by the state at a set value. You may have to be a state resident to be eligible for this plan.

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