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Town Unveils New College Investment Plan for F.F. Kids
By: David Deschesne
Fort Fairfield Journal, November 2, 2011
FORT FAIRFIELD—October 18, 2011 – The Town of Fort Fairfield and the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) gathered at the Fort Fairfield Elementary School to announce a new college education program named Fort Kids First -- Future College Plan. This innovative program will provide scholarships to help Fort Fairfield residents save and invest for college in Maine’s NextGen College Investing Plan.
Fort Kids First has two scholarship opportunities: the first provides any newborn inhabitant in Fort Fairfield, born after July 1, 2011, with a $250 scholarship grant into a NextGen account; and the second provides any child entering kindergarten at the Fort Fairfield Elementary School beginning the 2011-2012 school year with a $50 scholarship grant to be deposited in a NextGen account. Both are a great start to help families saving for college.
“With higher education expenses rising every year, it’s more important than ever to start saving and investing early for college,” stated Beth Bordowitz, Chief Executive Officer of FAME. “These new scholarships will help bring the dream of attending college one step closer for Maine families.”
Dan Foster, Fort Fairfield Town Manager, said: “As the cost of college rises each year, the power of these scholarships and NextGen can't be underestimated.”
On a recommendation from the Quality of Place Council, The Fort Fairfield Town Council voted to implement this new strategy to promote the habit of saving, to develop a more intimate understanding of financial matters, and to provide another way for Fort Fairfield residents to demonstrate their commitment to the pursuit of postsecondary education. NextGen was selected as the investment vehicle for the First Kids First – Future College Plan because it provides a convenient and easy way to save for higher education expenses.
“This is a terrific opportunity for Fort Fairfield to partner with NextGen in a scholarship program that will have meaningful financial impact on a young student’s future educational expenses,” said David McCrea, Fort Fairfield Town Council Chair. “Our hope is that these scholarships will provide that spark that will make young students think ‘I can go to college, too’ and will enable their parents to help make that goal come true.”
The NexGen program is an investment vehicle, not a savings account, and some or all of the investment is at risk. The Fort Kids First Baby Scholarship will be invested into the NextGen Portfolio(s) selected by the NextGen account owner. All contributions made into the NextGen Account are subject to the terms and conditions of the NextGen Program Description and any Supplements. Please remember there is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.
$250 is the total obligation to an enrolled child from the town of Fort Fairfield. The only other obligation the town has is when and or if the child enters kindergarten at Fort Fairfield Elementary School they would also qualify for the $50 kindergarten grant as well.
Questions have been raised regarding the potential for a child's family moving our of Fort Fairfield after a NexGen account has been established with town money. “When we discussed setting up this program all involved were in agreement that following an existing plan’s guidelines would be best for continuity; like the Alfond grant, as long as the child is a resident of Fort Fairfield at the time of their application within the first year of life, they will qualify,” explained Mike Bosse, Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “The hope is that families will have Fort Fairfield high on their list to establish residency in and that the grants will instill a loyalty to Fort Fairfield. If at some point they find it necessary to leave the community, the hope is that our helping them will instill goodwill to our community and that maybe someday they will return.”
The Fort Kids First program follows the same guidelines as the Harold Alfond College Grant. See www.500forbaby.org for more information.
Also attending the announcement were Brent Churchill, chair of the Quality of Place Council, State Representative Tyler Clark; Sue Parks, Principal Fort Fairfield Elementary School; Marc Gendron, Superintendent of MSAD #20; approximately 45 kindergarteners along with their Parents and Teachers; Becky Woodman, Cynthia Jones, Sarah McCullough.
Please remember there’s always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.
The NextGen Plan is a Section 529 plan administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Before you invest in the NextGen plan, request a NextGen College Investing Plan Program Description from your Maine bank or financial advisor, or call FAME at 1-800-228-3734 and read it carefully. The Program Description contains more complete information, including investment objectives, charges, expenses and risks of investing in the NextGen plan, which you should carefully consider before investing. You also should consider whether your home state or your designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s 529 plan. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fanner & Smith Incorporated, a registered broker-dealer, member SIPC, is the program manager and underwriter.