South Carolina’s state-run college savings program saw a 16% increase in the amount of money invested last year.
State Treasurer Curtis Loftis said Tuesday that more than $36 million was put into the Future Scholar program in December, a 48% increase over December 2011. The program now has more than $1.6 billion invested. The Treasurer’s Office oversees the plan in South Carolina.
Loftis credited a lower minimum of $50 to invest, down from $250, combined with lower expenses and fees. He said a new marketing campaign by the Treasurer’s Office helped fuel the growth of the 529 college savings program, which is self-contained and does not rely on taxpayer funds.
“A record number of more than 5,000 South Carolina families signed up to save for college with Future Scholar in 2012,” Treasurer Loftis said in a statement. “Last year we made significant improvements to the plan making it more affordable and accessible and we’ll continue our hard work to spread the word on the importance of saving for a college education and the benefits of using South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan to make that dream a reality.”
Future Scholar allows parents, relatives and friends to contribute tax-free money toward a child’s college education. The money is invested and can be removed from the account without paying taxes to pay for college expenses.
Tripp Girardeau contributed to this report