Frequently Asked QUESTIONS
These FAQs cover questions often asked by parents, guardians, and everyone else. There are four different sets of FAQs that all cover different aspects of the program, including the Promise, registration, CollegeChoice 529, and champions.
More information on the Promise can be found at www.promiseindiana.org.
More information on CollegeChoice 529 accounts can be found at www.collegechoicedirect.com.
Why talk about college and careers with young students?
We believe students can dream about their futures as early as kindergarten!
Aren’t elementary students too young to understand what college is?
Part of the goal of the Promise is to generate conversation and curiosity about college, even among our youngest students and their parents. It’s never too early to dream about the future. The Promise is part of a K-12 approach and the activities are an age-appropriate introduction to college and career discovery.
Who is running this program?
The Promise is a collaboration among many partners: school districts, community organizations, businesses, and funders.
Why did you choose to work with CollegeChoice529?
CollegeChoice 529 is the State of Indiana's plan. It provides a state tax credit for Hoosiers. Learn more about the plan at the Indiana Education Savings Authority.
What are the classroom activities?
Lesson ideas are provided to classroom teachers around the county, who then develop age-appropriate lessons to help students in the area of college and career discovery.
How do I sign my child up for the Marion County Promise?
The goal of the Marion County Promise is to expand to all kindergarten through third grade students in Marion County. However, during the pilot, students can only enroll through one of the below "hubs":
- Marian University: Cold Spring Elementary School
- The Mayor's Office of Innovation: KIPP Indy Public Schools
- Decatur Township: Liberty Early Elementary
- Not-for-profit: Indianapolis Chapter of Indiana Black Expo, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, Indiana After School Network and MCCOY
If your organization would like to become a Marion County Promise hub, please contact Madison Criswell, Marion County Promise Project Manager, at 260-563-9622.
How do I sign my child up for this program if I am on vacation the week of registration?
While school registration events are the first opportunity to create an account, you can also start an account when you register your child for school (during your individual meeting with your child’s school personnel). Contact us to find out how to register.
What does it cost to participate?
Through the Promise, you can sign up for a CollegeChoice529 account with no dollars invested. The normal fee for signing up for an account has been waived.
Do I have to attend the “Walk Into My Future” event with my child to participate?
All students will participate in the “Walk Into My Future” event, which includes a college visit. Students do not need to open a CollegeChoice 529 account to participate in this event, and while we encourage families to join us, it is not required.
I have one child who is eligible for an incentive deposit and one child who is not. Can they both participate?
We encourage you to open a CollegeChoice 529 account for both children, however only the child in the eligible grade level cohort will be participating in the Promise.
I have a child in kindergarten; will he receive matching funds every year of school?
We cannot guarantee any additional funds beyond the current school year and incentives, but we hope to be able to support students throughout their school career.
CollegeChoice 529 Accounts
What if my child decides not to go to college?
A 529 plan account owner controls the account. That means you can change your beneficiary to another eligible “member of the family” (as per plan rules) with no tax penalty.
What if my child already has a 529 account?
Do I have be the child’s parent to set up a CollegeChoice529 account?
No; parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, almost anyone can be an account owner.
If I sign up for an account, who has access to the personal information I provide?
Your personal information will be protected and will only be used to open the account and not shared with a third party.
Can a 529 be used for other education - besides college - for example, a certificate?
You can use your account assets for many higher education expenses, including tuition, fees, and certain room and board costs. This includes 2-and 4-year colleges, graduate schools (including law and medical), and vocational/technical schools. Click here to learn if an institution qualifies for 529 purposes.
Can a CollegeChoice 529 account only be used in Indiana?
You can use the assets at any eligible school around the country and abroad—not just in Indiana. This includes 2-and 4-year colleges, graduate schools (including law and medical), and vocational/technical schools. Click here to learn if an institution qualifies for a 529.
If I move out of the county, does my child keep the CollegeChoice 529 account?
You continue to own your 529 account even if you relocate outside of the county. However, if you relocate you will not be eligible for matching gifts in future years of the program.
What if I want to use an account advisor?
You can choose to use an advisor to manage the investments in your CollegeChoice 529 account, but are not required to do so by participating in the Promise.
Can I make gifts to the CollegeChoice 529 at other times?
You can make gifts to your 529 account any time you want via the CollegeChoice 529 website.
Can an account that starts with just $25 really help my child pay for college?
Even small investments can make a big difference in your child’s future. CollegeChoice 529 balances can grow over time!
Can I contribute the CollegeChoice529 account through my employer?
Yes. Contact your Human Resources Department to learn how to set up a payroll deduction.
Does my child have access to the funds when he/she turns 18 years of age?
The CollegeChoice 529 account continues to be under the control of the account owner, even if the beneficiary reaches the age of 18.
Becoming a Champion
What is a “champion”? Does a champion have to make a financial gift?
A champion is someone who supports a student (or students) in his or her dreams and future college and career success. A champion can help in two ways: by making a gift to a student’s CollegeChoice 529 account or providing written or verbal encouragement and support.
Can I make a contribution to accounts of children in the county on a larger scale? Such as investing in an entire class or grade level of students?
Yes; you can become a champion by providing financial support for larger groups of students by class, school, district, or become a champion for children across the county.
Are there protections in place to make sure the funds are used for education? Can parents access the funds provided by the match? Can parents access funds provided by the child’s champions?
Special safeguards are put in place to ensure matching funds are protected from misuse.