College saving plan offers benefits

Stefanie Botelho's picture

Although it might sound too good to be true, almost 48,000 Louisiana residents are putting aside money for a child's college education and shielding it from taxes by investing in START, the Student Tuition Assistance and Revenue Trust Program.

A state audit released Monday shows that on Dec. 31 the START investment portfolios totaled about $525 million and grew 21 percent in one year.

START is a state program with IRS Code Section 529 designation that makes all earnings tax-exempt as long as they are spent on legitimate college education expenses. That includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies and equipment required for the enrollment or attendance of a designated beneficiary at an eligible educational institution.

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