What is the Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan?
The Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan (formerly the GIFT Plan), sponsored by the Treasurer of State’s office, is an education-savings plan that allows your savings to grow tax-deferred through a wide variety of investment options. Later, the money can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for qualified higher education costs like tuition, room and board, and supplies at nearly any two- or four-year college, university, vocational, or trade school.
In 2018, the federal government expanded the use of 529 funds to include private, parochial and public K-12 tuition. In 2021, the government broadened the plan even more to allow 529s to cover the cost of apprenticeship programs and pay down student loan debt.
The gift of an education is an investment that can have generational impact. With the Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan, you can help make your loved one’s future even brighter. Plus, funds in your Brighter Future 529 account can be used for any eligible institution in the United States and abroad.
To view additional information about the Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan, please visit https://brighterfuturedirect529.com/.
Every Dollar Counts: Why the Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan?
Unlike traditional savings vehicles, the Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan can help your college savings grow tax-deferred through an investment strategy tailored to your time horizon, risk tolerance and comfort level. In addition, the plan offers:
- The flexibility to use the funds at any eligible accredited public or private college, university, or technical school worldwide, or for any apprenticeship program certified by the U.S. Department of Labor
- The ability to use the funds for student loan repayment, up to $10,000
- The choice to use the funds for tuition at private K-12 institutions
- An automatic investment plan (AIP) for as little as $10/month
- A mobile app that offers savings options at your fingertips (Google Play, Apple)
The Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan also offers several tax benefits, including:
- Up to a $5,000 state tax deduction for Arkansas taxpayers ($10,000 for married couples making a proper election)
- Tax-free withdrawals for qualified expenses
- A business tax deduction of up to $500 per employee for Arkansas business owners when they match employee contributions into the plan
- A one-time $7,500 state tax deduction for Arkansas taxpayers who roll an out-of-state 529 plan into an Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan
- The ability to “carry forward” a tax deduction over the maximum annual allowed amount ($10,000) for up to four succeeding years
Opening An Account Is Easy
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Investing Is Easy
What kind of investor are you?
Do you prefer a hands-on approach? Or would you rather be less involved?
Either way, the Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan gives you several options for choosing the strategy that’s right for you and your particular risk tolerance. Choose between age-based options, custom portfolios or an FDIC-insured option.
Arkansas 529 Survey Reveals Attitudes About Saving & Preparedness
Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan’s office, which administers the Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan, conducted a statewide survey in 2021 that highlighted Arkansans’ awareness of education savings plans. The Arkansas Brighter Future 529 Plan committee surveyed about 70,000 randomly selected Arkansans to measure their awareness of 529 plans and their preparedness for saving for education. A report of the full survey results may be found here.
Past Meetings of the Arkansas 529 Board
The Arkansas Brighter Future Fund Committee is made up of Treasurer Dennis Milligan; Clint Rhoden, Director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System; and Dr. Maria Markham, Director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
Click here to view past meeting minutes and video recordings of the Arkansas Brighter Future Fund Committee.