Why did Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. decide to create this program for its employees?
Access to an education is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves, our children, family members or friends. We know that saving for education is an uphill battle. But access to education of choice is where many successful futures begin and — just as important — seed a network effect of success for families, communities and a nation that will rely on their leadership to make the most of whatever lies ahead. Individuals can’t solve this problem alone.
Dun & Bradstreet Credibility’s strength in building trust and credibility puts us in a position to be a catalyst for a new idea that will create an impact on education today and tomorrow. As an employer, community partner and business innovator we are ready to step up.
The result is EdAhead®. Dun & Bradstreet Credibility’s EdAhead education savings program is the first education savings plan with a multiple match. Employee contributions are matched by company dollars while also activating a donation to local public schools. EdAhead is sparked by the power of personal action, gains momentum through the company’s shared commitment, and multiplies the benefit in communities close to home.
How does the company match part of the EdAhead program work?
The company will match the amount that you contribute to your company-selected 529 account, up to the maximum amount as outlined in the plan document. “The Match” will be made annually, at the end of each calendar year (on or about December 31st) and you must be employed in a full time capacity with the company at such time in order to receive the Match. You can contribute more, but the additional contributions will not be matched.
Is the education fund being managed by Dun & Bradstreet Credibility or an outside financial firm?
The Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. 529 fund is being managed by Putnam 529 for AmericaSM.
How do I sign up to be a part of this program?
All of the enrollment documents are available to complete online.
To get started, go to the Putnam Corporate 529 online enrollment site. The site allows you to enroll online or download a paper application. When you are asked to input your ID, it is our company ID you were provided, along with the PIN.
Are all employees eligible to contribute to this program with a match?
All full time employees are eligible as of day one of the program launch (12/1/12).
Is this program mandatory?
This is not a mandatory program for our employees but we do encourage our employees to take advantage of all the program has to offer. Participation requires each employee to opt-in and enroll in order to participate.
How much can I contribute to my 529 account?
The IRS currently allows for a maximum account value of $370,000 for our 529 plan.
Contributions may total up to $13,000 per year per Beneficiary ($26,000 for couples filing jointly) without triggering federal gift taxes. For additional details about contributions to your account, please see plan documents and/or consult with a tax accountant.
What if I don’t have a dependent child, can I still participate on behalf of a relative or close friend (“Beneficiary”)?
You can always open a 529 account for your own education benefits, for your children, or even a child that is not your dependent. There are restrictions that apply such as if the child does not use the funds, the funds must be used for another child within that child’s family (see plan documents for additional information).
Can I open one 529 account for each of my children? You can open as many accounts as you like, but the company will only match up to the maximum amount stated in the plan per employee, not per account or Beneficiary (please see plan documents for maximum match amount).
How does this account differ from the college savings plan I have started for my child already?
The EdAhead’s 529 education savings plan is similar in structure to a typical 529 plan but the difference is that Dun & Bradstreet Credibility is going to match the employee contribution up to the plan maximum (as stated in plan documents) per year and then, based on the aggregate matched employee contribution that occurs in each respective office, we will additionally donate that amount to the local public school system where the office operates.
Can these funds only be used for college costs?
According to Putnam plan documents, funds can be used towards any eligible institution of higher education! Assets in a 529 plan account aren’t just for public and private 4-year colleges and universities. They can also be used at eligible trade and technical schools, graduate schools, as well as for qualifying 2-year associate degrees -in the U.S. and abroad- provided the educational institution is eligible under the rules applicable to 529 plans. Eligible educational institutions generally include all post-secondary institutions that participate in U.S. Department of Education student financial aid programs. Qualified higher education expenses include tuition, fees and the costs of books, supplies and equipment required for the enrollment or attendance of a Beneficiary at an eligible educational institution.
Can other members of my family or friends contribute to this savings plan?
Yes, others can contribute to this savings plan on behalf of the Beneficiary (see plan documents for tax implications for the contributors) but the company Match will only apply to the employee contributed funds.
Is the money that I put in this account tax deductible?
Although your contributions are not deductible on your federal tax return, your investment grows tax-deferred, and distributions to pay for the Beneficiary’s college costs come out federally tax-free.
Is there a vesting period for the matching funds that the company puts in to my account?
No, there is no vesting period. Once the Match has been placed into your account, those dollars belong to you. The company Match occurs annually on or about December 31th of each year and you must be employed in a full time capacity at the time the company pays out the annual Match to each employee in order to receive that Match.
Do I get to take this account with me if I ever leave the company?
Yes – it’s your account, however the account is only matched one time per year and you need to be a full time employee on the day the company pays the Match to receive that year’s Match.
How do I pull my funds out when it is time for my Beneficiary of this account to go to school?
You may request a withdrawal from your account by notifying the plan administrator and completing the appropriate form. Please refer to the Putnam 529 plan information within this kit and online at https://www.putnam.com/corporate529/.
Where do the local school EdAhead match funds go?
Through EdAhead, we will donate the aggregate of the matched employee contributions in each office with 100% being awarded to local public school district where that office operates on an annual basis.
What are the local school districts for each office that will benefit from this EdAhead match program?
- Bethlehem Area School District
- Guilford County Schools
- Millburn Township Public Schools
- Santa Monica/Malibu Unified School District
- Tempe Elementary School District/Tempe Union High School District
- Tucson Unified School District
Do I get any say in what schools get the EdAhead donations?
No. We will be working with each school district that has been identified as the district in which each office operates.
When do the local schools get these EdAhead funds?
Annually and within a reasonable amount of time after the aggregate company match has been made, the local school districts should receive the EdAhead donation.
Is there a cap on how much will be donated through EdAhead to local schools?
The amount donated is limited only to the amount contributed by employees that participate in the applicable location up to the Match maximum (as stated in the plan documents).
I don’t live in the area where the identified school district is, can my local school still benefit from the EdAhead Match program?
At this time, only the school districts in which the offices reside will receive EdAhead donations.
Is the money that the company donates to the school districts allowed to be used how they see fit, or do schools in the district need to apply for these funds?
Funds given to each school district will be specified for use towards programs that improve academic excellence (specifics will be available later in 2013).
Can other companies create an EdAhead program for their employees?
Although we are the first company to provide a program like this for its employees with a matching component to employees and local schools, any company can create an EdAhead program. As the innovating company here, it is our belief other businesses will follow suit. Our intent is to lead the way, to encourage, to motivate and to provide an example for other businesses. We hope to set the standard for companies everywhere. If you know of a company that is interested, please send the information to Chris Nowlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I have financial questions about the EdAhead program, who should I contact?
For program details, please talk to Chris Nowlin, (310) 919-2225.