Skip Navigation

Proposal Would Create a 529 Edvest Account for Each Child Born in Wisconsin


Empowering Wisconsin’s Future: A Vision for Educational Opportunity

This spring, legislation was proposed in the Wisconsin Assembly to encourage families to save for postsecondary education. This proposal, known as WisKids, would create a 529 plan for every child born or adopted in Wisconsin. The concept is not just about financial savings. It’s about nurturing a “college-going mindset” at a young age.

WisKids aims to make dreams tangible by instilling the belief that postsecondary education and one’s chosen career path are not just distant goals but attainable realities. It’s a vision that seeks to break down barriers, especially in communities with historically low rates of postsecondary attainment, as noted in the 60 Forward Initiative article.

Since the inception of the Edvest program, WAICU has held a seat on the College Savings Plan Board, advocating initiatives that advance educational equity. WisKids aligns perfectly with WAICU’s mission, “working together for educational opportunity,” promising to open doors for countless young citizens statewide.

But WisKids is just one piece of a larger puzzle aimed at reshaping Wisconsin’s educational landscape. At the state level, there’s a push to increase tax deductions for contributions to 529 plans. The legislation, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 148 signed into law this spring allows married couples to claim up to $5,000 and individuals or divorced spouses up to $2,500. These adjustments are not merely financial. They’re incentives designed to encourage investment in the educational future of Wisconsin’s youth.

Simultaneously, at the federal level, proposals are gaining momentum to boost the annual benefit amounts for both graduate and undergraduate coursework. The current benefit, stagnant for more than four decades at $5,250, is due for a substantial update. Bipartisan efforts in both the U.S. House and Senate aim to more than double this amount and index it for inflation.

These proposals are more than numbers on paper. They represent proactive strategies to build Wisconsin’s future workforce. By increasing access to higher education and reducing financial burdens, the state is nurturing a pool of talent ready to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving economy. WisKids, coupled with enhanced tax deductions and federal benefit increases, forms a comprehensive approach to empower the next generation.

The implications of these initiatives extend far beyond fiscal policies. They speak to the values of a state committed to its people’s prosperity. When a child in Wisconsin knows that a college education is not just a dream but a tangible goal, the entire community benefits. When families in underserved areas receive support through innovative savings plans, opportunity widens.

It’s a vision of Wisconsin where every child, regardless of background, has a shot at success. It’s a commitment to building a workforce equipped with the skills and knowledge to thrive in an ever-changing world. WisKids, WAICU’s advocacy, state tax proposals, and federal initiatives together weave a narrative of hope and progress.

As the legislative wheels turn and discussions continue, one thing remains clear. Wisconsin is investing in education and its own future. The path to a brighter tomorrow starts with empowering today’s children, and with each policy and proposal, our state takes a step closer to that vision.

Eric W. Fulcomer, PhD