Boosting Contributions | American Funds

Boost your contributions.

You've got your 529 education savings plan ready to go, and you've budgeted and set up automatic investments toward the fund. Awesome! Now it's time to level up!

Father and son playing with confettis

Invite everyone to the party.

You’ve heard the term “it takes a village” when it comes to raising children, and the same is true when it comes to saving for college. Now more than ever, family members are contributing to education funds to help cover the costs of college for their grandchildren, nieces or nephews.

Check out the numbers.

Learn how small gifts add up over time.

My child is     old

Save     a month starting today

Add additional   per year from gifts

Today in 18 years
0 years

Estimated savings when your child is 18 years old:

$ 0

* Assumes a hypothetical 6% growth rate. For illustrative purposes. Not intended to portray an actual investment.


Ready to create a detailed plan?

Go to the college calculator

How big of a difference is it?

That’s a difference of nearly $ 0.

Take your lump sums.

Every little — and big — bit helps with the overall goal of paying for college. Someone like a grandparent, for example, can pitch in up to $15,000 a year without gift tax consequences. And a contributor can combine multiple years into one lump sum of up to $75,000.

Share the wealth.

As you grow in your career, your income may increase — why not take part of that increase and apply it to your monthly contributions? You can make contributions right from your checking account, or possibly as a deduction from your paycheck that goes right to your 529 savings plan. Revisit your savings strategy on an annual basis and make adjustments.

In addition, your job might offer annual bonuses that you can put part, or all, of toward your 529 savings plan account. Another annual way to contribute might be with tax refunds. Adding chunks like these toward your child’s future education can make a big difference, taking some of the weight off you and your child’s shoulders when it comes to potential debt later in life.

Spare me.

Even the smallest savings add up. Keep a spare change jar near your front door for the whole family to join in the savings. You can count up the change on a quarterly basis and make a family contribution to the 529 savings plan.

If you have more than one plan, take turns with contributions. These plans are flexible and transferrable, so if one of your children’s funds has spare change of its own, you can easily transfer the account to another child.

Have skin in the game.

As your teenager becomes more independent, she might take on a part-time job. If so, it’s a great time to sit down together and review her paycheck to decide how much to put toward college.

A contribution of 10% may be a good place to start. Establishing a habit of saving when children are young can create financial discipline over time that will benefit them way past their college years. It's important to remember that every bit counts and adds up over time. As you revisit, you can watch how your contributions can grow!


Investments are not FDIC-insured, nor are they deposits of or guaranteed by a bank or any other entity, so they may lose value.

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses, summary prospectuses and CollegeAmerica Program Description, which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing. CollegeAmerica is distributed by American Funds Distributors, Inc. and sold through unaffiliated intermediaries. 

Depending on your state of residence, there may be an in-state plan that provides state tax and other state benefits, such as financial aid, scholarship funds and protection from creditors, not available through CollegeAmerica. Before investing in any state's 529 plan, investors should consult a tax advisor. 

If withdrawals from 529 plans are used for purposes other than qualified education expenses, the earnings will be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty in addition to federal and, if applicable, state income tax. State tax treatment of K-12 withdrawals varies. Please consult your tax advisor for state-specific details.

American Funds Distributors, Inc., member FINRA.

This content, developed by Capital Group, home of American Funds, should not be used as a primary basis for investment decisions and is not intended to serve as impartial investment or fiduciary advice.

Statements attributed to an individual represent the opinions of that individual as of the date published and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Capital Group or its affiliates. This information is intended to highlight issues and should not be considered advice, an endorsement or a recommendation.