The current cost of a four-year private college is $45,370, according to the College Board. Even an associate’s degree can be expensive, averaging $11,580. Now for the good news: For those students who attend college in Maine, there are some great financial incentives to cover college education costs. Two of these are the NextGen College Investing Plan and the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit. This blog post covers the highlights of these two plans. For more specific information to see if you or your child qualifies, visit the appropriate website.
NextGen College Investing Plan
The NextGen College Investing Plan is available for any Maine resident to use for children, grandchildren, other relatives, or even non-relatives—if he/she is designated as the beneficiary and is attending college anywhere in the United States. The money you invest in this Section 529 plan is both federal and Maine state tax-free when used for qualified college expenses.
Contributions to your NextGen account can be as little as $25 and as much as $425,000 for a single beneficiary. The more money you invest and use for college, the more tax savings you will incur. For more information on Maine’s NextGen College Investing Plan, please follow this link.
Opportunity Maine Tax Credit
Maine can be a great state not only to attend school in, but to work in as well. Combine the two, your employer may reimburse you for either taxes on your student loans, or the entire student loan amount. It’s called The Opportunity Maine Tax Credit and it’s been around since 2008.
As of 2016, the program has expanded to provide Maine income tax credit for any associate’s, bachelor’s, and graduate degrees from Maine colleges, and associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from non-Maine schools, as long as you work in Maine after college and are repaying student loans. If you received a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) degree, you may be eligible to receive a full refund for your student loans. If your degree is non-STEM, you’ll get a refund of whatever taxes you owe to the State of Maine.
Opportunity Maine is a powerful recruiting tool designed to attract the most talented college graduates to Maine-based businesses. It’s a win/win for both the employer and the employee. For more information on whether you or your child qualifies, follow this link.
These two programs can help make a Maine college education much more affordable, and provide significant incentive for working in Maine after college. Take some time to review your options. If you have any additional questions, a Richard Brothers financial advisor would be happy to answer them. Just contact us now!
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