Beginning in 2019, every child born or adopted into Pennsylvania will have $100 invested into an account for their future education. Funds can used up to age 29 for continuing education after high school to better prepare for the workforce. Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella was joined by other state officials in Berwick recently to celebrate the statewide launch of the new program to encourage education saving.
The Keystone Scholars program was piloted in seven counties in 2018 and uses Pennsylvania Treasury account earnings and philanthropic contributions, no general fund tax revenues. The goal is to encourage families to set up and fund private 529 accounts for children. Contributions to 529 plans are tax deductible, and earnings are tax free when used for qualified educational expenses.
Treasurer Torsella was joined by PA Senator John Gordner, Representative David Millard, and others at the McBride Memorial Library in Berwick on Sept. 7 to promote the program. Torsella, a Berwick native, celebrated the creation of Keystone Scholars as a bi-partisan effort. Senator Gordner applauded Torsella’s commitment to the program, noting that his swearing in ceremony in early 2017 was held at a school.
Average student debt among college graduates in Pennsylvania ranks worst in the nation, according to Torsella. Regularly funding a 529 plan can significantly reduce, or even eliminate, the need for student loans. Additionally, children with a 529 plan are three times more likely to pursue additional education after high school, resulting in higher earnings over a lifetime.
More information about the Keystone Scholars program and 529 plans is available at the PA 529 website.