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Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Rob Markovich, Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner

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Be Thankful for Avoiding College Debt

This Thanksgiving, Earn the Gratitude of Your Child by Saving for Their Future College Tuition Costs

SACRAMENTO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/19/12 -- ScholarShare, California's 529 college savings program, believes families can add a college future for their children to the list of things they are thankful for by opening a new college savings account. A college savings fund can help cover a child's future college tuition bills, providing peace of mind to the child's parents during this holiday season.

ScholarShare wants every student to be able to pay for higher education, so the first step you can take to help your child is to open a college fund. Regular monthly contributions are as easy preparing cranberry sauce from a can. It takes only $25 to open a new college savings account.

Many families bear the burden of college tuition costs without a comprehensive savings plan, but fees are rising higher than what most hard-working families can afford. To obtain a higher education, many students have to borrow. Often the amount of money students need to borrow is more than their future earnings. The more families can save in their college fund, the less their children may have to borrow, helping them begin their working life with a potentially better financial future. ScholarShare has the tools to make it easier than ever to contribute to their child's or loved ones' future college tuition costs.

ScholarShare offers flexible features for anyone interested in starting a college savings plan. Any US citizen, or resident alien with a valid Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number, can open a new account on behalf of a beneficiary. Funds can be used at any eligible educational institution in the nation, and some abroad, for a variety of qualified higher education expenses, including mandatory fees, books, supplies, or even certain room and board costs.

Online resources are available on our website. And through the "Give a Gift" option, any gift giver can open an account for children of all ages or contribute to an existing account. Parents should use Thanksgiving as a time to discuss with your family that instead of toys for their child this upcoming Holiday season, give a gift of a college education. College savings specialists are available for phone and in-person consultations to answer questions.

About the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan:
ScholarShare accounts may be opened with as little as $25 per investment portfolio. ScholarShare has no annual account maintenance fee, no income limit and offers a high maximum contribution limit of $350,000. Established in 1999, ScholarShare currently holds more than $4.5 billion in assets in more than 241,000 accounts as of 9/30/2012. To sign up for an account or for more information about the plan, visit http://www.scholarshare.com/. For information about the SIB, visit www.treasurer.ca.gov/scholarshare. Like ScholarShare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scholarshare529 and follow us on Twitter at @ScholarShare529.

Named for the section of IRS code under which they were created, 529 plans are highly regarded for their tax-advantaged status. Any earnings on investments can grow tax-deferred. Withdrawals, when used for tuition and other qualified higher education expenses, are federal and state income tax-free.

Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan. Please visit www.scholarshare.com for a Program Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Read it carefully.

Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your Beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state's 529 plan.

The tax information contained herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax. Non-qualified withdrawals may also be subject to an additional 2.5% California tax on earnings.

Investments in the Program are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss.

The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan Twitter and Facebook pages are managed by the state of California.

TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Program Manager.

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