Unique Ways to Support Your Graduate

Do you have a graduating high school senior in your life? Supporting soon-to-be college students is a priority for many families, especially as tuition rates continue to climb. Luckily, there are several ways you can consider supporting your new grad as they start this next chapter in their lives.

Contributing to a 529 Plan

Many high school graduates will already have a 529 Plan set up in their name. By making contributions to their plan, you’re helping to fund their qualifying education costs in a tax-efficient way. The funds in a 529 Plan grow, and can be accessed by the plan owner, tax-free - as long as they’re spent on specific costs associated with education (like tuition).

Gifting Bonds

Many people choose to gift bonds as a way to financially support family and friends. A savings bond is a low-return investment that accrues interest (or increases in value) over time. Although the returns aren’t what they used to be, savings bonds can still be a useful gift for new high school graduates to start building their wealth. You might also consider gifting savings bonds to younger children in your family, giving the bonds time to mature and increase in value before they go off to college. To gift bonds through the government’s Treasury Direct website, you need to purchase and hold the bonds in your Treasury Direct account for a minimum of five days before gifting them to the recipient. There may be favorable tax treatment by using bonds to fund education.

Considering Cash Gifts

The #1 option for supporting your new high school grad is through a cash gift. In 2019, individuals can gift up to $15,000 per person and still fall under the gift tax exclusion. The recipient won’t owe taxes on the funds, either, as long as it remains under this amount.

Gifting Tuition

Some college institutions allow people to gift tuition directly. For family or friends who want to gift a notable amount to help their graduate with the cost of higher education, this may be the way to go. Gifting tuition directly to a college helps you to sidestep the gift tax exclusion - any funds that are gifted directly toward tuition payments through a college don’t count toward your $15,000 per person limit. Be careful, though - this will affect the student’s eligibility for financial aid,

Need Help?

Want to create a strategy that allows you to support the education goals of your family? Contact us today. We’d love to help guide you through education planning, and how you can financially support the new grads in your life.


Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.

"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.

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