FILE - DE Delaware State 9-21-2007

A sign posted at the front gate of Delaware State University is seen Sept., 21, 2007 in Dover, Del.

(The Center Square) – The Delaware Treasury Department is teaming up with the state’s Plans Management Board, which oversees the state’s college savings plan, to encourage more people take advantage of the state’s higher education funding mechanism.

In a Friday news release, State Treasurer Colleen Davis talked about how her department will support “a series of strategic objectives to raise awareness and participation in DE529 Plans, that the PMB has approved.”

Contributions to the plan have risen 47%, according to the release, in the second quarter of the fiscal year, compared to the same period in 2020. Davis said 2020 contributions were $53.3 million, and as of June the contributions stand at $36.4 million for this year.

“Addressing the need to save for education saving is highlighted with September designated as College Savings Month, but it is an issue we deal with all year long,” Davis said in the release. “Not only does our office administer the DE529 Education Savings Plan, tax-advantaged accounts designed to help parents, grandparents and others pay for higher education expenses, I sit on, and our office provides administrative support for the Plans Management Board (PMB), the group that directs and serves as trustees of the money invested in the plans.”

Donna Vieira, chair of the PMB and executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Sallie Mae, said, “We are looking at making DE529 one of the leading education savings programs in the country. These objectives are designed to grow accounts and increase contributions.”

Davis also said she is “expanding her presences on the national level concerning helping families save for future education expenses.” Davis serves on the executive board of the College Savings Plans Network, vice president of the Eastern Region of the National Association of State Treasurers and chairs Banking and Cash Management Committee.

“I hope to keep the importance of 529 plans in the forefront for everyone around the country and prevent both students and their parents from acquiring overwhelming student loan debt,” Davis said.

The treasurer also cited recent studies that show more older Americans are taking out loans to cover the education costs for their children and grandchildren.

Davis said that while the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the economic climate in the state, the “plan has experienced significant growth thanks to the responsible oversight of the PMB and the support of the Treasurer’s Office."

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.