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Employers: Gift the Gift of College and Help with Student Loans, College Savings and Disabilities

A little-known provision of the CARES Act now enables employers to provide employees up to $5,250 in tax-deductible contributions to help employees repay college loans. Founded in 2012 as a consumer gift card concept, the company now expects the bulk of its business to come from organizations. 
Giftofcollege.comLaunched in 2012 as a gift card enabling consumers to easily provide gift cards to families saving for college or to help students pay off school loans, Gift of College now expects most of its business to come from organizations. Using a still little-known provision in the CARES Act of 2020, companies can now give employees or other stakeholders up to $5,250 in tax-free student loan repayment assistance that they can deduct from their business expenses with no payroll taxes imposed.. Gift of College can also be used to help educate employees about and facilitate contributions to any of over 90 tax-favored 529 college savings plans and 529A (ABLE) disability savings plans.  Employer matching to 529 plans, however, is currently a taxable benefit for employees. 
Usually, consumer companies generate most of their business from consumers and eventually enter the corporate market to generate incremental revenues and visibility. After companies started approaching Gift of College to use its gift cards for gifting, incentives, and recognition, founder Wayne Weber recognized the potential of serving the corporate market.
According to Weber, Gift of College CEO, “When we first started Gift of College, we expected to be mostly a retail business making it easy for individuals to give the gift of college savings or to help loved ones with paying off college loans. An early application was for people wishing to gift the families of newborns with a simple way to begin saving for college. Now, with the help of provisions in the 2020 CARES Act to help with student loans, “we expect most of our business to come from organizations seeking incentives or recognition programs for employees or other stakeholders.” 
Explains Weber, “Gift of College helps your employees address one of their most critical concerns: paying for higher education.  A simple tool like Gift of College can go a long way in relieving employee stress and improving financial wellness. Best of all, employers don’t need to decide which 529 plan to offer. Gift of College enables employees to contribute to any state's 529 college savings plan, ABLE plan and to any student loan account, he says. 
The company offers two basic solutions. 
Auto-Payroll Deduction. This option “provides a streamlined approach for employees to make automated payroll contributions into any 529 college savings, 529 ABLE, or toward any student loan account. This includes an optional employer match or contribution functionality. 529 ABLE accounts are specifically designed to support qualifying disabled individuals up to a total of $100,000 in lifetime contributions without any impact on governmental subsidies or support programs. ABLE stands for “Achieve a Better Life Experience.” The Gift of College is in the ADP payroll processor’s marketplace and can be used with any payroll system, Weber says. 
Gift Cards. “Our gift card is employee-friendly, and an economically sound and seamless way to give or match into any 529 plan or student loan for rewards, recognition, and special occasions, including births.” Gift cards come in a range of denominations and can be used for any 529 college savings program or any 529A program for disabled individuals. The gift cards are redeemable by recipients at full face value. There is a purchase fee that is paid by the giver of the gift card, as with American Express, Mastercard, or Visa gift cards, Weber explains. 
College 529 programs can be used by individuals to save tax free “for higher education books, tuition, room and board for two- or four-year accredited colleges, technical or trade schools or apprenticeships. Gift of College gift cards can be redeemed into an existing or newly-established 529 program account.” The company provides information for individuals seeking to learn about 529 college savings and ABLE plans and how to set them up. 
For more details on 529 plans and tax-free student loan repayment assistance, see the following articles:
For More Information
Gift cards can be ordered online, or readers can contact the company for more details on bulk gift card purchases and payroll deduction programs.
Wayne Weber, CEO  
Gift of College
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Resources: The Brand Media Coalition, the only guide to the story-telling power of brands and where to source them for business, event, promotional gifting, and rewards and recognition. Enterprise Engagement Solution Provider Directory. The only directory of engagement solution providers covering all types of agencies and tactics as well as insights on how to select them.
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