Family saved money for 13 years to send daughter off to college thanks to the Virginia 529 program


Winchester resident Ann White says she started saving 13 years ago when her daughter was in kindergarten, and she says it’s been a simple task all thanks to the Virginia 529 program.

“They have several different plans, but what we did was the prepaid tuition. Where you lock in the tuition rate when you sign your contract and it honors full tuition when the child goes off to college,” said Winchester resident, Ann White.

Now, Ann’s only child Kaitlynn is all grown up, and will be graduating from John Handley High School this year.

She’s relieved she can afford to send her daughter to George Mason University this fall, where the tuition costs her about $20,000 a year.

“The plan we saved up for and contributed too got us two years and about two thirds of another year prepaid, and we paid that over 13 years so it was very painless. We took our baby sitting money and just put it towards that,” added White.

Ann says the remaining two years that is not covered by the 529 plan will be covered by possible scholarships, and additional savings her family has.

Something her daughter, Kaitlynn, appreciates.

“Very, very grateful… It’s the fact that hoping and knowing that I’m not going to deal with the student loans that I’ve seen them deal with over the years and knowing that I’m not going to have that burden on my shoulders is just absolutely wonderful,” said John Handley High School student, Kaitlynn White.

Without it, Ann says more financial burdens would have come about.

“We would probably be looking at loans to cover a majority of the tuition,” said White.

That’s why Handley Library decided to open its doors to the public to help parents like Ann.

They hosted a 529 informational session to discuss many things including the basics of tax advantages of a 529 plan.

“We want to help educate parents about the importance of saving for college and why they should start no matter how young or how old the child is, or even for themselves,” said Virginia 529 Northern Virginia Regional Marketing Associate, Rebecca Lyons.

As for Kaitlynn, she’s excited to attend George Mason and major in creative writing to fulfill her ultimate dream.

“I am hoping that I can become an author, and make a living off of what I love to do,” added Kaitlynn White.

To visit the “Virginia 529” website, click the link below.

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