Working to improve educational opportunities for all Georgia students is a never-ending task. Over the last eight years, we have focused on creating a “lifetime of learning” culture in Georgia, starting from early childhood to late in life. We have placed as a priority improving SAT scores and student achievement, lowering the dropout rate and sending more of our students to college.
Programs such as Bright from the Start, which makes sure children are prepared to enter school, the Georgia Virtual High School, which makes Advanced Placement classes and other advanced courses available to any student in the state, and the Graduation Coach Program, where coaches in middle and high school help students reach the goal of receiving a diploma, are making a difference in helping Georgia achieve our highest graduation rate and substantial improvement in the number of students that take and pass AP courses.
Another program that we hope all Georgia families will take full advantage of is helping more of our state’s children prepare for the future and putting them on the path toward success. That program is our successful Path2College 529 Plan, Georgia’s 529 college savings plan.
Since its launch in 2002, Georgians have saved more than $850 million in more than 113,000 accounts in the Path2College 529 Plan. Families across the state are participating, and Mary and I are included in those numbers – we have opened accounts for our grandchildren.
We are fortunate to have this exceptional college savings plan that makes planning and saving for college simple for families. The plan does not require large investments of money or time to get started, but it helps families prepare by saving small amounts over time to help pay for the costs of college for more of Georgia’s children.
Just like becoming involved in your children’s education from the beginning by reading to them and helping them with homework is essential to their future success, establishing a strong financial foundation for their future higher education is essential as well.
Mary and I now have 12 grandchildren, and we take the time to read to them and stay involved in their education, and our accounts in the Path2College 529 Plan will help their families save for college and secure their future. We encourage all Georgia families to continue to raise the bar to help more and more Georgia students achieve a college education.
And while it is hard to imagine that today’s preschoolers will soon be leading our state and nation in the not-so-distant future, the fact is your child or grandchild is half way to college by the time they’re in fourth grade. A college education has become a necessity, not a luxury, in helping our children compete in the world.
As the year closes and you begin to make your financial decisions for 2011, Georgia parents and grandparents should consider saving with the Path2College 529 Plan for their kids and grandkids. Working together we can help advance educational attainment across Georgia and create a more educated state that is more competitive for economic development and job creation.
Please visit www.Path2College529.com today and start setting aside the dollars your children and grandchildren will soon need for college. Because the sooner you begin saving, the easier it will be to meet the future costs of college.