• By Degrees Foundation

By Degrees Foundation to Expand Programing at Harding Middle School

Des Moines, Iowa (October 16, 2019) – Today, the By Degrees Foundation formally announced that they will fund the initial investment made into family-owned College Savings Iowa 529 accounts for all 800+ Harding Middle School students. The announcement took place at Harding Middle school located in Des Moines’ north side community, in front of students, parents, community partners, Iowa State Treasurer, Michael Fitzgerald and Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent, Tom Ahart.

Harding Middle School students join By Degrees CEO Emily Westergaard, State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, and Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tom Ahart at a public event announcing By Degrees programing at Harding on October 16, 2019.

The programing and funding builds on the work begun at Findley Elementary School and includes all Harding Middle School students, regardless of where they attended elementary school. The expansion to Harding Middle School will provide college savings accounts for the nearly 600 students who did not attend Findley Elementary. This program also supports our family financial empowerment efforts and will be combined with family and student financial education and postsecondary planning.


“Over the last twenty years, College Savings Iowa has helped families from across the state save for post-secondary expenses,” said Iowa State Treasurer, Michael Fitzgerald. “We know that saving early is an important part of the post-secondary planning process and we are proud to work with the By Degrees Foundation to help spread awareness of 529 college savings accounts.”


Harding eighth grader, Briaryanna Goodwin, explains what By Degrees' investment and support means to her.

The program at Harding celebrates achievements and incentivizes future-focused behaviors. Studies show that students with at least $500 in a college savings account at the time of high school graduation are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate from college. By Degrees’ college savings programs are developed with these statistics in mind.


“We know for a fact that saving early can reduce a family’s need to borrow, help reduce debt, and inspire conversations around what comes after high school,” said Emily Westergaard, Chief Executive Officer of the By Degrees Foundation. “By partnering with the Iowa State Treasurer’s office, we are able to help ensure more central Iowa students graduate from high school ready to pursue post-secondary education with the tools they need to be successful.”


About the By Degrees Foundation We believe education is a community effort and recognize the transformational impact incremental changes can make on a student’s life. Our work begins in kindergarten and follows students to and through high school graduation, ensuring they’re immersed in a complete culture of college and careers. Partnering with entire schools, we work to increase high school graduation and postsecondary readiness rates while engaging community partnerships to uplift students, families, and whole neighborhoods.


About College Savings Iowa

College Savings Iowa offers families a tax-advantaged way to save money for their children’s higher education. It only takes $25 to open an account, and anyone – parents, grandparents, friends and relatives – can invest in College Savings Iowa on behalf of a child. Iowa taxpayers have the additional benefit of being able to deduct contributions up to $3,387 per beneficiary account from their 2019 Iowa income taxes.*

Investors do not need to be a state resident and can withdraw their investment federally tax-free to pay for qualified higher education expenses, which includes tuition, books, supplies and certain room and board costs at any eligible college, university, community college or technical training school in the United States or abroad.**


*Adjusted annually for inflation. If withdrawals are not qualified, the deductions must be added back to Iowa taxable income.


**Earnings on nonqualified withdrawals may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax, as well as state and local income taxes. The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.

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We recognize the transformational impact incremental changes can make on a student’s life. Partnering with entire schools, we work to increase high school graduation and postsecondary readiness rates while engaging community partnerships to uplift students, families, and whole neighborhoods.

 515.650.8230

mailing: PO Box 41070

Des Moines, IA 50311

 

info@bydegreesfoundation.org

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