Aspiring Scholars

A new opportunity for Arkansas-based GIFT Plan owners

The Arkansas Section 529 Plan Review Committee has set aside funds for matching grants. The Aspiring Scholars Matching Grant Program has been designed to help parents and other account plan owners add to their GIFT Plan accounts – and to bring the dream of higher education closer to being a reality.

The program provides matching grants of up to $500 per year to eligible students, based on a household’s income levels.

Who can apply for the Program?

A GIFT Plan account owner.

Both the account owner and the account’s designated beneficiary must be Arkansas residents (either U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens). The account owner’s household must have had an adjusted gross income (AGI) for the previous calendar year of $60,000 or less.

How does the Aspiring Scholars Matching Grant Program work?

  • The account owner submits an application form during the annual enrollment period (January 1 to April 30) along with proof of income eligibility from the previous year.
  • The Matching Grant Committee considers all of the applications.
  • Applicants are notified by the Committee on or before June 30 about the status of the grant.
  • If the grant is approved, eligible applicants have until the end of the current calendar year to deposit funds into their GIFT Plan accounts. After December 31, deposits into all qualifying accounts will be verified and the appropriate match will be deposited no later than February 15.
  • The maximum matching grant available is $500.

Applications are accepted between January 1 and April 30 of each year.

Some additional points

  • An account owner must have a separate GIFT Plan account for the designated beneficiary at the time of the application
  • Payments from the matching grant accounts must be made directly to qualified institutions of higher education.
  • Only one (1) matching grant account may be opened for any designated beneficiary.

The application must be accompanied by the Arkansas income tax return of the parent or legal guardian.

For example, if you are submitting an application between January and April of 2011, you must enclose your completed tax return for tax-year 2010.

Matching grants are subject to availability of funds and can be reduced or stopped at the Arkansas Section 529 Plan Review Committee’s discretion.

For more information about The GIFT College Investing Plan call 1-800-587-7301 or click here to obtain a Program Description and Participation Agreement. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other information are included in the Program Description and Participation Agreement; read and consider it carefully before making an investment or sending money. Upromise Investments, Inc., Distributor and Underwriter.

Please Note: Before investing in any 529 plan, you should consider whether your or the beneficiary’s home state offers a 529 plan that provides its taxpayers with favorable state tax and other benefits that are only available through investment in the home state’s 529 plan. You also should consult your financial, tax, or other adviser to learn more about how state-based benefits (or any limitations) would apply to your specific circumstances. You also may wish to contact directly your home state’s 529 plan[s], or any other 529 plan, to learn more about those plans’ features, benefits and limitations. Keep in mind that state-based benefits should be one of many appropriately weighted factors to be considered when making an investment decision.

The GIFT College Investing Plan is a college tuition savings program sponsored by the State of Arkansas. Upromise Investments, Inc., which serves as Program Manager, has overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the Plan, including effecting transactions, and marketing and distributing the Plan. The Vanguard Group, Inc. serves as Investment Manager for the Plan. The Plan’s portfolios, although they invest in Vanguard® mutual funds, are not mutual funds. Units of the Portfolios are municipal securities and the value of units will vary with market conditions. Investment returns are not guaranteed, and you could lose money by investing in the GIFT Plan.

The GIFT Plan and The GIFT Plan logo are trademarks of the State of Arkansas. The Vanguard Group, Vanguard, and the ship logo are trademarks of The Vanguard Group. Upromise is a registered trademark of Upromise, Inc. All other marks are the exclusive property of their respective owners.

© 2010 State of Arkansas. Upromise Investments, Inc., Member FINRA. All Rights Reserved.

GIFT Plan website content:

GIFT Plan enrollment packet and brochure:

Dale Ellis

529 Plan Project Coordinator

Phone: 501-682-1406
Fax: 501-682-1417

Emma Willis

Aspiring Scholars Matching Grant Program Coordinator

Phone: 501-682-1422
Fax: 501-682-1417

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