Louisiana's START Saving Program Partners With BabyMint

The Louisiana Tuition Trust Authority (LATTA) has approved a partnership agreement between the Student Tuition Assistance and Revenue Trust (START) Saving Program, Louisiana’s “529” college saving plan, and the BabyMint network – a micro investment technology firm that automatically deposits cash rebates into “529” plans when participants shop at selected retailers.

“This is another way we’ve improved START to make it even easier for Louisiana citizens to plan ahead for the costs of higher education,” said State Treasurer John Kennedy. “This partnership with Baby Mint can help Start account owners turn everyday purchases into savings tools for college.”

START Director Carol Fulco said the partnership will assist START account owners in reaching their college savings goals when they shop at any of the more than 700merchants and 127,000 grocery stores contained within the BabyMint retail network.

According to Peter Davis, Baby Mint President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), participants can receive up to 25 percent in cash back contributions on purchases of brand name products through the company’s grocery coupon program.In addition, Baby Mint rebates are provided by online retailers including Gap,L.L. Bean, Barnes & Noble and many others. Rebates are also available when gift certificates are purchased from select retailers such as Macy’s, Pizza Hut and Starbucks. A 5 percent monthly rebate is also offered on some long distance telephone service providers.

“START owners now have the option of registering for Baby Mint when they open their accounts, Fulco added. Individual investors can register with Baby Mint online at no charge and have their rebates linked directly to their START saving accounts.

Davis said START account owners can now save additional sums by recapturing a portion of their routine expenditures for goods and services. He added that Baby Mint is intended as a means for START account owners to enhance their savings.

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START and BabyMint

As an added benefit, account owners who wish may apply for a Baby Mint credit card that boasts an annual percentage rate (APR) as low as 9.9 percent, with no annual fee. A rebate of 1 percent is made to their START accounts on all items purchased with the Baby Mint Mastercard, even items not offered within the Baby Mint retail network.

“START is already one of the best 529 college savings plans in the country, and these new features make it better than ever,” Kennedy said. “As a START account owner, I look forward to registering with BabyMint to take advantage of every possible dollar I can save for my son’s education.”

Louisiana’s START Saving Program allows family members or other interested parties to open a college saving account for a beneficiary of any age. The interest earned by funds deposited to the account is exempt from federal and state taxes when used to pay for college, and the state of Louisiana will match a portion of the deposits.

Plus, account owners can deduct up to $2,400 in deposits per account each year from their income as reported on state tax returns.

START is Louisiana’s qualified program under Section 529 of the federal tax code.START deposits, interest and state matching funds may be used to pay for tuition, books, supplies, housing, meals and other qualified higher-education expenses at colleges and graduate or professional schools located either in Louisiana or out of state.

A START account may be opened by any member of the beneficiary’s family (parents,grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, spouses, cousins,step-relatives) or any other person or legal entity (such as a business,organization, church or association) or by an independent student for themselves.

For more information, please contact the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) at (800) 259-5626, Ext. 1012.

Gus Wales, LOSFA Director of Public Information and Communications
(225) 922-2029