Giving the gift of higher education

Lori Gunzelman, of Derby, Kan. shares her story:

How did you discover Learning Quest?
I saw Learning Quest's Future Wildcat contest on Facebook and immediately thought of my brother's young kids. He has a 7 year-old step-daughter, Adyson; 2 year-old daughter, Piper; and infant triplets-- Cash, Zoey and Coral.

I'm currently putting one daughter through college and have a high school senior. Although we saved for their college education, it's tough to foot the bill. The cost of college is rising so quickly with scholarship funds not matching those rising costs. I can only imagine how difficult it's going to be for my brother and his wife when four of the five children are all in college at the same time. That's why I'm getting my nieces and nephew set up with 529 plans now!

Are you giving the 529 plans as gifts?
Yes! My sister and I are the godparents of the triplets. At Thanksgiving we decided (along with our spouses and our other brother) that the most meaningful gift we could give each of them is to start their own college savings funds with Learning Quest.

I think the biggest hurdle parents face is simply taking action to start the process. It's scary and overwhelming, so it often gets pushed aside. So, we're taking away that hurdle and opening accounts for the kids' Christmas gifts this year.

How will it make a difference?
We're starting each child's account with a lump-sum deposit, then plan to contribute for birthdays and holidays. Hopefully other family members will do the same via Ugift and, over time, it will add up. I'm excited that we're starting them off so early because it will help their savings grow and compound throughout the years.

I know my brother and sister-in-law have a lot of expenses raising five young children. They're thankful their kids will be receiving these accounts for Christmas. As aunts and uncles, we're proud to contribute to their future. We have a wide range of educational experiences (private, public, technical school) among the gift-givers. We love that the plan's flexibility will allow these kids to select the college experience that best suits them when the time comes. Although it seems like a long time from now, I know we'll blink and they will be teenagers. I know because it just happened to me!