The state treasurer is looking for ways to promote the Bright Start program to the general public. Bright Start, run by the treasurer’s office, is like a 401(k) for college savings: Parents, grandparents or any benefactor can contribute, and the earnings on the investment are tax exempt. But state Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs says for many years, a lot of the marketing of the program has been to financial advisors and money managers – and he says people who have financial advisors probably have some money and are hep to the idea of saving for college.
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“Investment brokers and money managers already know these plans exist. But do you know who doesn’t know these plans exist? Those who feel the dream of attending college is slipping away. These families also most likely do not know the threshold to opening an account is so low,” he said. Frerichs says his office is working on finding a way to make the less-affluent public aware. He says this is important, citing a study from Washington University that says that students who are the beneficiaries of these accounts are seven times more likely to attend college than those who are not.