Created By: Texas Tomorrow Funds
Focus: Saving for college tuition
Big Picture: Essentially, this is a one-page portal launching exploration of three college tuition savings programs. The program sites are no-frills, but feature plenty of plan documentation, calculator tools, and helpful external links. The Texas Tuition Promise Fund helps families pay for some or all college tuition fees upfront by purchasing Tuition Units—unit prices are locked in, equating to semester hours, and don’t change with fluctuations in the market. The Texas College Savings Plan is a qualified 529 plan offered through the state—there are 20 different investment portfolios (mutual funds, money market accounts, etc.) to choose from, with tax-free growth and no withdrawal penalties. And the Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan allows up to 160 credit hours to be purchased in advance for any public university or college.
Big Challenge Solved: Having three solid Texas college savings programs isolated, clearly described, and readily launched provides a refreshingly narrow focus that can give students and parents an initial sense of accomplishment on their college-prep path.
Must-Use: The Texas Tuition Promise Fund’s clear and concise glossary is a great first site to visit for a high-level overview of terms specific to its program, as well as terms relevant to all three programs.
Most Unique Tool: Upon launching the Texas Tuition Promise Fund website, tech-savvy grandparents who are contributing to their grandchildren’s tuition will find a welcome way into the process directed specifically at them.
Best Middle-School Student Tool: Students will best be served by checking out some strategies for college saving through their site partners at Texas College Savings under the Plan tab—some simple tips that might only take ten minutes for them to view and make notes about.
Best High-School Student Tool: A downloadable Student Handbook on the Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan site is worth its weight in gold for walking high-school seniors through those final decisive moments regarding college and how to pay for it.
Protip: Have students wait to visit until they’re ready to start enrolling in the programs, as they’ll need to be prepared to take spend some time filling out forms with pertinent personal information.