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Give the Gift of Higher Education This Holiday Season


December 17, 2012 - Sacramento, CA

ScholarShare, California's 529 college savings program, can relieve some of the stress of holiday shopping by recommending the perfect present for a young person in your life -- either starting or contributing to a college savings account in their name.

A 529 college savings account helps parents and other relatives with rising future college tuition costs. ScholarShare recommends saving early so they can avoid getting hit by these large college fees. In general, fees are rising faster than the rate of inflation and paying those high fees often requires parents or students to take out expensive loans. California's 529 college savings program can play a major role in a comprehensive savings plan.

The first step you can take to help your child is to open a college fund. Through the "Give a Gift" option on ScholarShare's website, any gift giver can open an account for as little as $25. And if your favorite loved one is already on the path to college, you can contribute to an existing account with the "Gift of Education Certificate," allowing for a personal message to be included for the beneficiary.

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.

College savings specialists are available for phone and in-person consultations to answer questions. Online resources are available on our website, www.scholarshare.com.

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 the IRS code under which they were created, 529 plans offer valuable tax advantages. Contributions are made with money that has already been taxed. Once funds are placed in the account, any investment earnings are not taxed. As a result, any funds withdrawn from the account to pay for qualified college costs are not subject to federal or state income taxes.

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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