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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
wayne@giftofcollege.com
GiftofCollege.com
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Education, Certifications, and Information to Activate
Brand Media and Enterprise Engagement 


A complete learning, certification, and information program and a course syllabus for educators.
 
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.
 
Communities: The  Enterprise Engagement Alliance and Advocate and the  Brand Media Coalition free resource centers offering access to the latest research, news, and case studies; discounts, promotions, referrals, and commissions, when appropriate to third-party solution providers from participating coalition solution provider members.
 
Training and Certification
Enterprise Engagement Alliance Education: Certified Engagement Practitioner; Advanced Engaged Practitioner, and Certified Engagement Solution Provider learning and certification programs on how to implement Stakeholder Capitalism principles at the tactical level. 
 
International Center for Enterprise Engagement: The only training and certification program for ISO 30414 human capital reporting and ISO 10018 quality people management certification. 
 
A CEO's Guide to Engagement Across the Enterprise cover
The EEA offers a complimentary course syllabus for educators.
 
In Print: 
This is the definitive implementation guide to Stakeholder Capitalism, written specifically to provide CEOs and their leadership teams a concise overview of the framework, economics, and implementation process of a CEO-led strategic and systematic approach to achieving success through people.  (123 pages, $15.99)
 
The first and most comprehensive book on Enterprise Engagement and the new ISO 9001 and ISO 10018 quality people management standards. Includes 36 chapters detailing how to better integrate and align engagement efforts across the enterprise. (312 pages, $36.) 
 
Online:  
10-minute short course: click here for a 10-minute introduction to Enterprise Engagement and ISO standards from the Coggno.com learning platform.
 
Services: 
•  The Engagement Agency at EngagementAgency.net, offering: complete support services for employers, solution providers, and technology firms seeking to profit from formal engagement practices for themselves or their clients, including Brand and Capability audits for solution providers to make sure their products and services are up to date.
•  C-Suite Advisory Service—Education of boards, investors, and C-suite executives on the economics, framework, and implementation processes of Enterprise Engagement. 
•  Speakers Bureau—Select the right speaker on any aspect of engagement for your next event.
•  Mergers and Acquisitions. The Engagement Agency’s Mergers and Acquisition group is aware of multiple companies seeking to purchase firms in the engagement field. Contact Michael Mazer in confidence if your company is potentially for sale at 303-320-3777.
 
Enterprise Engagement Benchmark Tools: The Enterprise Engagement Alliance offers three tools to help organizations profit from Engagement. Click here to access the tools.
•  ROI of Engagement Calculator. Use this tool to determine the potential return-on-investment of an engagement strategy. 
•  EE Benchmark Indicator. Confidentially benchmark your organization’s Enterprise Engagement practices against organizations and best practices. 
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For more information, contact Bruce Bolger at Bolger@TheEEA.org, 914-591-7600, ext. 230.
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