It’s never too early or too late to set yourself up for success. If you are 7 years old it might be no more than making a smart choice about how you spend your birthday money. If you are 17, it might mean deciding which school will offer the most value for your chosen area of study. If you are 47 it might be planning to go back to school for a graduate degree or even getting that first degree. The Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) can help no matter how young or old you are, and no matter where you are on the higher education path.
Turn Your Birthday Checks into a Lot More
Did you know that if you started with $500 in your MESP account when you were 8 years old and put nothing else in, by the time you were 18 you could hypothetically have nearly $900? That’s the power of compounding and it happens to every dollar you put away in MESP. So now imagine you were putting away the money you got for birthdays, holidays and part-time jobs. Combined with contributions from your friends and family, you can help save more for college.
Getting Ready for Your Future
As your college years approach, you will need to study for the SATs/ACTs, apply to your dream schools, take a closer look at financial aid – there’s so much to do. MESP makes that process easier. You will have a better idea of how much you have to spend, which can help you decide where to go, how much it will cost, and how much financial aid you might need. The more you have saved from all sources, the more options you have.
How You Can Access and Spend Your College Money
While only the account owner may make withdrawals, they can be the same person as the beneficiary. This makes MESP the perfect way to save for yourself whether you are 18 or 80.
If a parent or grandparent owns the account, there are still many ways to access the funds. They can pay your institution directly, send you individual withdrawals as needed, or set up systematic withdrawals that will be transferred to you on certain dates. Alternatively, they can transfer ownership to you, and you can manage this yourself.
And you can spend your college savings at any accredited institution for a lot more than just tuition. With MESP, you may use your funds to pay for certain room and board costs, supplies, text books, fees and equipment. Computers and related technology such as internet access fees, software or printers are also qualified education expenses. The student must be the primary user of the equipment.
If you need to withdraw from a class, or if there is a refund of funds for qualified higher education expenses, you may redeposit funds to your 529 plan within 60 days without penalty. The recontributed amount cannot exceed the amount of the refund.