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We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has worked in Des Moines since 1990 to help more students graduate from high school and attend postsecondary education. In 2014, we began our partnership with Findley Elementary and have since expanded to support the entire K-12 network from Findley Elementary to Harding Middle and North High.

Our 529 savings account program celebrates achievements and incentivizes future-focused behaviors. All Findley Elementary students, regardless of grade level, are able to have a free 529 savings account opened in their names, owned and financed by By Degrees.


To participate in this free program, parents or guardians of Findley Elementary students must enroll in the By Degrees 529 Savings Account program at the link below.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a 529 Savings Account?

A tax-advantaged account specifically used to save for postsecondary expenses. Funds in a 529 savings account are invested and grow tax-deferred, meaning no taxes are paid on the earnings while the account accumulates money. Withdrawals from these accounts are also tax free when used for approved postsecondary expenses.

Why does By Degrees offer 529 Savings Accounts?

What will a By Degrees 529 Savings Account pay for?

A By Degrees 529 Savings Account can be used for qualified expenses at accredited, not-for-profit postsecondary programs, including:

  • tuition and fees

  • books

  • supplies

  • computers

  • equipment required by your qualified postsecondary educational institution for enrollment or attendance (e.g. tools, class materials, etc.)

529 savings accounts are a powerful way to save for postsecondary education. We believe that these accounts will help students prepare for the future by celebrating achievements and providing the financial resources necessary to pursue postsecondary education.


Throughout your student's time at a By Degrees partner school, we will work with you to understand postsecondary costs, how you can save and prepare for them as a family, and the numerous educational pathways that can lead to future success in life and career.

What is a qualified postsecondary program?

Any nationally accredited, not-for-profit program that comes after high school and participates in federal financial aid programs for students. This includes technical and trade schools, 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities, as well as postgraduate studies.

Did You Know...

Having just $500 in a 529 savings account at the time of high school graduation makes a student THREE TIMES more likely to attend postsecondary education and FOUR TIMES more likely to graduate?

How To Open Your Student's Free Account

To participate in the free By Degrees 529 Savings Account Program, families or guardians of Findley Elementary students must complete the By Degrees 529 Savings Account online enrollment form.


Findley Elementary students are eligible to enroll in the program at any point during their time at Findley. Students will only begin to earn milestones during the year in which they enroll.

Earning Money

Students with open accounts can earn up to $200 annually through achieving various academic and social milestones determined by school and By Degrees staff each year. These milestones are provided to families at the beginning of each school year.


Milestones may only be earned when a student is enrolled at a By Degrees partner school (Findley Elementary, Harding Middle, or North High). If at any time a student no longer attends a By Degrees partner school, their account will be marked inactive but remain open.


Any earned money will be accessible upon high school graduation. If a student with an existing account returns to a By Degrees partner school, the account will be reactivated and new milestones can be earned.

Withdrawing Money

Students may use funds in their By Degrees 529 Savings Account once they have graduated from high school and enrolled in an eligible postsecondary educational institution.


Graduated students ready to withdraw funds from their By Degrees 529 savings account must do so through their online account at

Students who have not yet set up online account access should email to request account access.

Students have until five years after their anticipated high school graduation date to use the funds in their By Degrees 529 savings account. If money is not used within that time, all funds in that account (including contributions and earnings) will be transferred back to By Degrees to benefit other students in the program.

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