1. Purposes of TLC Information Services
2. Mi-Card Development Process
3. Mi-Card on College Planning
4. College Tuition Savings Plans
5. General Tips and Information about College Planning
6. Value of This Mi-Card on College Planning
8. Order This Mi-Card on College Planning
9. Any Questions?
1. Purposes of TLC Information Services
TLC Information Services was founded in 1994 with the purpose to provide valuable
information to the public. It started out as a personal information research service and expanded into Internet automated search service such as
the medical world search engine, MWSearch.
The twentieth century brought on the information explosion and the Internet
has extended the information age to the twenty first century with an impact
that is beyond measure and expectation. Information is critical in every day
life from traffic jam to economic crisis. Information is vital in every domain of businesses.
For each individual or family, one can not over emphasize the importance of
keeping abreast of the overwhelming information explosion in the various medium especially the world wide web. The most important information domain
to any individual is
- Career and job
- Marriage and family planning
- Raising children
- Many Others
The above list is long and can be subjective. For example, religion, taxes,
environments, etc. are also important information domains. TLC Information services sets its goal to provide
information on all important information domains. Following its effort in developing and providing an
intelligent medical world search engine, TLC is
focusing on the College Planning as its next information service offering.
This topic belongs to the categories of finance/investment, education and family
planning and raising children. No one can argue College Planning is not an
important issue, especially after the Congress passed the law for tax
deductible college savings incentive, commonly known as 529. A "529
Plan" is a tax-advantaged program, established under Section 529 of
the Internal Revenue Code, that helps families and individuals prepare
for the future costs of a college education. Plan participants
contribute to an account or purchase tuition credits or certificates on
behalf of a beneficiary -- a parent for a child or grandparent for
grandchild, for example -- that has certain federal and state tax
advantages. These plans are known as Qualified Tuition Programs.
All 50 states have passed legislation authorizing a 529 plan, and most
have a plan in operation. (see tabulated details in section 4 in the
Mi-Card). Education is an important issue no less than health. That is the reason, TLC Information Services has decided to
develop a Mi-Card on College Planning. As a matter of fact, TLC
about this topic since college planning holds the future for education and
education holds the future of the individual, the family, the state, the nation, and the
world. We may say that College planning holds the future period!
As a reference to TLC Information Services' achievement, the Medical World
Search service as TLC's first public information service tool should be briefly
introduced. MWSearch is the world's first intelligent medical search engine.
It understands medical concepts and thesaurus so that queries can be intelligently expanded to find more relevant and deeper medical and health
knowledge from the vast amount of health and medical information (15% of the web pages are health and medical related). MWSearch also crawls the web
and index the most relevant medial web sites and called them major sites. This
automated search tool has served the public since 1996. TLC Information Services
is very proud of the compliments it received from its member users.
For College planning, the information is equally important but the information
is not as voluminous as medical and health domain. The information providers
such as book publishers, magazines and web sites tend to be cyclical as they
often are when the topics are politically cyclical. Therefore, finding relevant
and useful information on College Planning becomes a time consuming chore. TLC
Information Services has decided to adopt the Mi-Card technology and develop a
Mi-Card on College Planning since it offers the best way of providing information
seekers a friendly, persistent and action supported information format all integrated into a portable CD medium. Having a copy of Mi-Card on College Planning, it is like reading a digest of the topic with all essential points
included, all relevant references on the web sites (and book publishers) live-linked, all important tips regarding strategy and execution of college planning
and getting into colleges are collected in one place. Most importantly, a callable
phone directory to all 42 states that offer college savings plans is included for
the reader to make a call to talk to the plan sponsor and administrator. Furthermore,
when most relevant web sites related to this topic is assembled in one place for?
the readers, it saves readers not only time but also provide valuable comparisons
and second opinions.
We hope that you will enjoy this Mi-Card save it and revisit it from time to time as needed.
You may call us for information updates and you may recommend this Mi-Card to your
loved ones and friends.
2. Mi-Card development Process
Mi-Card is a patent pending product based on a number of mature technologies
integrated to offer an optimum information and communication medium. The information
subject matter is organized to take advantage of the technologies offered by this
medium and avoid the pitfalls of overwhelming websites with information tailored to
a diversity of audience making navigation difficult and frustrating.
Mi-Card is an optical storage card and a calling card containing the following
i. Information Content in the format of HTML (web pages), hence hyper linked
for easy browsing.
ii. Information organized as easily readable continuous digest form with live
web links for additional supplemental reading but not as random links appearing
iii. A web to phone and web to PC calling software is included in the Mi-Card
to support interactive information exchange.
iv. Relevant phone numbers are imbedded in the content to allow readers to
click and call the number and talk to a live knowledgeable person.
v. A phone directory is assembled to contain all relevant phone numbers to the
subject matter for the readers as a valuable utility tool.
vi. Mi-Card is designed in the size and shape like a credit card, hence can be
easily carried in a wallet, automatically launched from an ordinary PC CD drive
and shared with friends in a gathering even without the Internet access (the
calling feature does require Internet link)
3. Mi-Card on College Planning
In this section, the Mi-Card will
provide you the essential information for college planning. First, you
should understand the difference between the prepaid tuition plan and
the college savings plan.
Tuition Plan under IRS section 529 - Hedge Against Tuition Inflation
Section 529 Prepaid Tuition Plans are
typically state programs that offer residents a way to
"lock-in" future tuition rates at today's prices.
Contributions made now purchase a certain amount of tuition at a later
date at a specified list of schools, many times the public colleges and
universities that are located in the state sponsoring the prepaid
program. For this reason, Section 529 prepaid programs are a very
different type of vehicle than a 529 savings plan. Prepaid essentially
offer a hedge against tuition inflation, and savings programs seek to
offer a market return. Some states will allow you to transfer the value
of your prepaid contract to private and out-of-state schools. However,
there may be penalties, if the beneficiary in a prepaid program does not
attend one of the colleges under the plan.
There is a questionnaire contained in this
section that can guide you to understand the plan offerings or to ask
the important questions. If you have a favored college in mind, you
should check whether it is
participating in the prepaid tuition program. Many financial
institutions manage the prepaid tuition plans for colleges. TIAA-CREF is
one example. There is a TIAA-CREF
web center where you can get further information.
Savings Plan under IRS Section 529 - Seek Investment Returns to Cover
Future College Expenses
College Savings Plans usually take
advantages of the tax deductions allowed by the federal and state
governments. Hence, your money may grow tax-free as long as your money
stays in the plan. Beginning in January 1, 2002 withdrawals to pay
for the beneficiary's qualified college costs will be federal income tax
free. Depending upon the state which you live in, program advantages
could include a state income tax deduction for contributions and an
income tax exemption for qualified withdrawals. You should check the
plan offerings in detail. The guide provided in next section will help
you get to the specific plans and understand them quickly. The phone
numbers listed in the guide are very useful for you to talk the plan
manager or administrator in person.
One important advantage of the college savings plan is that the
plan beneficiary can use the money at virtually any accredited
college, university or other institution of higher education -- not
just in-state schools, which is a common misconception -- and even at
some institutions abroad. However, you should investigate whether
there is any penalty or administrative cost associated with out of
Check On Return Results
The college savings plans are usually managed by professionals
with financial expertise. You should always check the results of
return on investment of their managed plans. There are web sites that
try to keep track of the return figures. One such link is given here.
Generally, there are no income limitations or age restrictions for
initiating a college savings plan. And you can name anyone as a
beneficiary, your child, your grandchild, niece, nephew or yourself --
if you're thinking about going back to college.
Control Of Funds
The account owner maintains control of how the funds are
distributed and to whom -- deciding when withdrawals are taken and for
what purpose. When you contribute to a Section 529 plan and become the
owner of that account, you always retain control of that account's
accumulations, even though contributions are treated as completed
gifts. As a result, your contribution qualifies for the $10,000 annual
gift tax exclusion, so you can make fairly large contributions without
incurring the gift tax. The
funds accumulated in your account are generally not considered part of
your estate for federal estate tax purposes, but you remain in control
of the funds. You may also decide to transfer the account balance to
another eligible beneficiary or to reclaim the funds for yourself at
any time. However, some transfers could be subject to gift tax and
withdrawals, if not used for qualified expenses, will be subject to
taxes and penalties. Use the questionnaire contained in the Mi-Card to
ask intelligent questions and get to the fine-print details.
Pick Any State Plan
You can take advantage of plans in nearly all of the states that
offer these programs, not just your own state. Therefore, you can use
the complete guide in next section to investigate any plan offered by
Size Of Contribution
You can invest substantial amounts of money in most programs; in
some programs you can make contributions until as much as $240,000 has
been set aside for your beneficiary. Contribution limits for Section
529 plans are considerably higher than the limits for other types of
investments typically associated with funding higher education.
Flexible Funds Transfer
Parents can transfer balances to siblings or certain other family
members. So, if one child decides to not go to college, his or
her sibling can benefit from the plan. In addition, beginning on
January 1, 2002, account owners can rollover the accumulation from one
529 to another 529 without changing the beneficiary once every 12
Withdraw For Non-College Related Expenses
Effective January 1, 2002, the new federal tax law imposes an
"Additional Tax" of 10% on the earnings portion of
non-qualified withdrawals. The Additional Tax eliminates and replaces
the federal income tax law requirement that each qualified tuition
program impose a penalty that is "more than de minims" on
non-qualified withdrawals (i.e., the currently 10% state penalty on
earnings). This Additional Tax will have similar consequences to the
account owner as the current tax, however, account owners will now be
responsible for paying the Additional Tax to the United States
Treasury through their federal income tax return.
For Guiding You To Understand The Plan Offerings (Heading!)
The best way to learn is to ask
intelligent questions. The following questionnaire or tips guide
you to learn about college savings plan offered under 529. You may want
to follow the following process to deal with this issue and then begin
to use the questionnaire:
i. You should first define your college
concern, such as how many children you have? Will you commit to pay
for their college expenses?
ii. You then go through the questions and fill out your answers as
well as you could.
iii. Next you select your preferred state (or your residence state)
and review its offering against the list of questions. Compare the
answers you get with your initial answers. Highlight out questions
that still beg for more complete understanding.
iv. Then select your secondary or third choice state plan and match to
the questions. You should be a well learned expert on the subject by
v. Now, you can commit your decision (how much money to contribute per
year or per month or one lump sum) and then select a plan to enroll
Since not all questions apply to all
types of 529 plans, you may not get answers on some of the questions.
However, this guide can give you a quick and focused learning process
through an iterative method to become an educated 529 sponsor.
Concern for College Education
Do you have children? How many? Ages?
Do you plan to have children? How many? Ages?
Do you want to sponsor college savings for children not of your own?
Do both parents want to contribute? Or single parent?
Only applicable to state residents?
Fully open to nonresidents?
Only applicable to sponsor's own children?
Fully applicable to any child?
Tuition, Room and Board (subheading)
Covers tuition only?
Today's price and projected price?
Room and board also covered? percentage?
State Tax Deductions
Yes, how much?
Savings Plan Security
Is your savings plan account guaranteed or secured by the state
Plan Management Fees and Expenses
Annual maintenance fee?
Asset-based management fee?
Underlying fund expenses?
Annual return on investment record published?
Prepaid contract lump sum payment options?
Prepaid contract installment payment options?
Value of contract for out-of-state colleges and in-state and
out-of-state private colleges?
Offers an age-based or years-to-enrollment investment program?
Does the plan offer any other investment options?
Investment/fund manager(s) identified?
Qualified Usage or Withdrawals
Plan covers tuition only?
Mandatory fees, such as registration?
Books, supplies and equipment?
Dormitory room and board?
Private room and board?
Prepaid contract cancellation penalty?
State tax consequences?
Time or Age Limitations for Plan
Is there a minimum period before qualified withdrawals may be taken?
Any limits on age or account duration?
Amount of minimum contributions?
Amount of maximum contributions?
Enrollment and Purchase Procedures
Only parents qualified?
Can enroll on any child's behalf?
Enrollment time limitation?
On-line form application? paper form application only?
On-line resources? Explanation and examples?
On-line plan and account review?
Transferable to Other State's Colleges
Pay average tuition of state colleges? How is it computed?
Any Penalty for transfer out-of-state? Percentage? Tax consequences?
800 number available for consultation?
Qualified person accessible for consultation?
4. College Tuition Savings Plan
In this section, we organize the 42 states
that offer college savings plan and prepaid tuition plans in a table. You
can easily scan through this table and pick a state or a couple of states
for consideration. Place the above questionnaire in hand and then click
the state plan you are interested in to collect answers. If you could not
find answers to some of the questions, click the 800 phone numbers next to
the plans and call them. The following table lists the state and plan
name, web sites for detail plan and investment information and the plan
managers and their phone numbers. Please be aware that states not included
in the table may decide to implement a plan. You should call
TLC Information Services for any
to access "Guide to College Saving Plan".
- Web Site Information Are Hard to Find, Difficult to Read and Often Poorly Maintained (This
Mi-Card puts All Together with TLC Process But can Not Guarantee All The Links and Phone Numbers Not to Change)
- This Mi-Card is a Portable Wallet Size CD Easily Saved, Shared and Used between Parents, Grand Parents and Friends to Discuss College Planning.
There is no refund for any order, the usage of this Mi-Card is under the terms
- Most Price Information are Time Variant, Hence Generally Given with a Link to the Source (TLC Information Services Can Not Guarantee the Sources Will Keep Their Price Information Current)
8. Order This Mi-Card on College Planning
- The Best $15 Investment You Can Make for Your Children, Grand Children, Favored or Loved Youngsters and Our World's Future
- Click the Order Button on This Page, Fill out the Simple Order Form and Process
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9. Any Questions? Call Us by CodecPhone by Clicking Here
Mi-Card on College Planning
Offered by TLC Information Services
3 Louis drive
Katonah, NY 10536