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Governor Perdue Enrolls Grandchildren in Georgia's 529 College Savings Plan, Pledges to Save for College Education

Monday, December 29, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today enrolled his two granddaughters, Mary Kate and Sunni, and his grandson Jack in the Georgia Higher Education Savings Plan, Georgia's Section 529 college savings plan. This program, which recently reached the milestone of $100 million in assets, offers tax advantages to families trying to save for higher education expenses. The plan, like the HOPE Scholarship, helps make college accessible for more Georgia families.

"I am acting today as a grandparent," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "I urge all Georgians to plan and save for their children and grandchildren because an investment in their education is an investment in their future."

The Georgia Section 529 college savings program has enjoyed rapid growth since its launch in 2002. The program's goal is to help participants prepare for college expenses, and to raise awareness of the costs of higher education. The program also emphasizes that beginning early and saving consistently helps participants take maximum advantage of the program.

Investment earnings in Georgia's college savings plan grow free of federal and state taxes, and withdrawals are exempt from federal and state taxes when they are used to pay for qualified education expenses. With certain limitations, contributions may be deductible from Georgia taxable income up to a maximum of $2,000 a year per beneficiary. The state tax deduction is available every year, and contributions made by April 15th may be deducted on the preceding year's return.

Under the Georgia college savings plan, contributions to investment accounts can be made for a beneficiary (the eventual student) by a parent, grandparent, relative or others. The program offers five different investment options, and allows contributions until the account balance reaches $235,000. There is no separate annual cap on contributions. Savings under the program can be used at Georgia schools for expenses not covered by the HOPE scholarship, or may be used at other schools throughout the country.

The program web site - - provides complete information and includes an on-line enrollment feature. Information and applications can also be obtained through a customer service center, 1-877-424-4377 (toll free). Accounts in the Section 529 college savings plan can be opened for as little as $25, and there are no income or residency restrictions on who can open an account.

For more information about Georgia's Section 529 college savings plan, contact Chuck Penuel at 404-463-0000 or by email at