Nevada College Kick Start FAQs

A. The Nevada College Kick Start program establishes a college savings scholarship of $50 for all public-school kindergarten students in Nevada. The program is administered by the Nevada State Treasurer’s office and the Board of Trustees of the College Savings Plans of Nevada.  

A. The Nevada College Kick Start program is funded through grants, private sponsorships, and program management fees. No taxpayer dollars are spent to fund Nevada College Kick Start Program accounts.  

A. The Nevada College Kick Start scholarship is created automatically through information provided from your child’s kindergarten school. The scholarship will expire, and any remaining funds will be returned to the Program if the scholarship account is not claimed by August following your child’s 4th grade year or if the funds are not used for qualified higher education expenses before the child reaches the age of 25. Please go to http://collegekickstart.nv.gov and click on “Access Your Child’s Kick Start Account Online”.  

A. As of August 2020, there were more than 244,000 students enrolled in the Nevada College Kick Start Program.  

A. No, it’s free. There are no fees, charges, or hidden costs.

A. The Nevada College Kick Start scholarship account established for your child is invested in the SSGA Upromise 529 Plan. This account has the opportunity to earn interest and grow over the 13-year period before your child graduates from high school. Nevada College Kick Start accounts will expire and any remaining funds will be returned to the Program if the account has not been claimed or if the student does not use the funds for qualified higher education expenses before reaching the age of 25. 

A. Families who begin a discussion and plan for college expenses while their child is in kindergarten will have a thirteen-year window in which to plan and save for future higher education costs.  Further, the establishment of a specific college savings scholarship account helps plant a seed that your child is going to college.

A. Research conducted by the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis outlined in, “The Role of Savings and Wealth in Reducing ‘Wilt’ Between Expectations and College Attendance,” found that children with a college savings account are up to seven times more likely to attend college than those without an account .Similarly, a study conducted by the University of Kansas’ School of Social Welfare found that college savings send a strong message to children: “You are a college saver.  You are college-bound.” The study also concluded that “Even small accounts, in many cases inadequate to even buy books for a semester, increase perseverance and improve academic preparation.” 

A. Nevada College Kick Start accounts are held within the SSGA Upromise 529 Plan managed by Ascensus College Savings, the program manager for many of the college savings 529 plans offered by the state.  

A. Once you have register your child’s account on our portal (www.vistashare.com/p/nv/kickstart), you can sign on at any time to check the balance of the account.  

A. Simply complete the “Opt-Out” Form available at www.NVigate.gov.

A. Nevada College Kick Start scholarship funds may only be paid to a US Department of Education eligible institution of higher learning (college, trade school, technical school) on behalf of the student to cover qualified education expenses when that student is enrolled and attending that institution.

A. When your child is ready to use the money for higher education, he or she will need to contact the Treasurer’s Office at 1-888-477-2667 to request a distribution. The Treasurer’s Office will verify the student’s information and arrange for the funds to be sent to the institution on the student’s behalf.  

A. That’s great! Be sure to link your SSGA or Vanguard 529 account to their Nevada College Kick Start scholarship account via our portal at www.vistashare.com/p/nv/kickstart, so your child may be eligible for any future funding.  

A. Cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies, certain room and board expenses, or any other Internal Revenue Service qualified higher education related expenses.  Savings in a 529 college savings account grow tax-deferred and if used for qualified higher education related expenses at eligible institutions are free from federal taxes. 

A. If a traditional four-year college isn’t right for your child, you can use the funds to pay for other kinds of post-secondary education, like technical and vocational training. If your child decides not to pursue post-secondary education, the funds in the Nevada College Kick Start account will be returned to the Program. Any funds you’ve contributed into your separate 529 College Savings account are available to be transferred to another child in your family or refunded to you. Remember, though, that any earnings on the funds you contributed that are not used for qualified education expenses at an eligible school may be subject to income tax and a 10% penalty. 

A. The Nevada College Kick Start account is considered a scholarship account and as such it should not count against your family in the calculation of financial aid. Of course, college enrollment for your kindergartner is many years off and new regulations on calculating financial aid may be different. Be sure to contact your own tax and financial professional when the time comes for a distribution. 

A. Visit our Nevada College Kick Start Program website at http://collegekickstart.nv.gov 

A. It is easy to open a separate 529 College Savings Plan for your personal contributions by visiting the Nevada State Treasurer’s website http://www.nevadatreasurer.gov/CollegeSavings/CSP_Home/ Some 529 College Savings Plans allow you to open an account with as little as $15 and then make contributions as you wish to that account going forward. You can do this for any student, not just kindergartners.  

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