Family awarded college savings

Published 9:51 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Just a few hours after Caleb Rountree was born, he was gifted a Virginia529 college savings account.

Kelley and Daniel Rountree were the winners of the 529 Baby Day promotion held at hospitals across the state, including at Sentara Obici Hospital. Caleb was 8 pounds, 12 ounces and 21 inches long when he was born at 4:44 p.m. on May 29. He was the baby at Obici born the closest to 5:29 p.m., which meant he was gifted a college savings account with a starting balance of $529.

The couple didn’t know about the promotion until they were told that Caleb was the winner, but they are no strangers to Virginia529.

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“We set up a 529 account when our daughter was born, but now we got a jump start on his,” Daniel said. “We were excited. It’s a blessing for the whole family.”

They set up a 529 account for their daughter, Ella, just a month after she was born. Ella is now just shy of 2 years old.

The Gates County parents were happy to have the new account for their second child, and they plan on using the funds strictly for college.

“We are leaning towards homeschool, so we would use the money for college,” Daniel said.

Neither parents have a preference where their kids go to school when it comes time to choose a college or university.

“I hope he goes wherever he feels called, and I hope it’s somewhere where he doesn’t have to deal with too much student loan debt,” Daniel said. “This is just a blessing, because not everyone gets to take advantage of this.”

This is the 10th year that the Virginia529 has done the 529 Day Baby promotion, and roughly 60 families have been able to take advantage of the offer, according to spokesman Devon Copeland.

A 529 plan allows families to save money for their child’s higher education expenses, and the money in the account isn’t taxed as it grows. Parents can now use the 529 plan to fund private or religious education starting from kindergarten and beyond.

“We like to tell our families that every dollar saved today is a dollar they won’t have to borrow years from now, and an investment in a college savings account goes beyond paying for books, tuition, and room and board,” Copeland said. “Families are making an investment in their children’s futures and paving the way for them to achieve their dreams, whatever that looks like.”