Mi-Card on College Plannibg by TLC Information Services

    Call us by CodecPhone or Order Mi-Card by Form


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                                             
7. Disclaimers
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 
  • Health/medical 
  • Finance/investment 
  • Education 
  • 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 valuable 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 feels strongly 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 features:

    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 to readers.
    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.

3.1  Prepaid 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. 

3.2  College 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.

Use Out-Of-State
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 state colleges.

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

Anyone Eligible
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 any

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 months.

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.

3.3  Questionnaire 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 this time.
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 in.

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. 

3.4  Questionnaire
              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?
               Plan Eligibility 
                 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?
                 inflation included?
                 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 Government?

               Plan Management Fees and Expenses
                 Enrollment fee?
                 Annual maintenance fee?
                 Asset-based management fee?
                 Underlying fund expenses?
                 Annual return on investment record published?

               Prepaid Contracts
                 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?

               Investment Considerations
                 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?

               Non-qualified Withdrawals
                 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?

               Plan Contributions
                 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?
               Plan Consultation
                 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 update information. 

Click here to access  "Guide to College Saving Plan".

5. General Tips and Information on College Planning

Considering college savings plan or prepaid tuition is the first step of college planning. If you are doing this for your own children, you will have to work with your children in selecting colleges and field of studies in later days. The following is a collection of web sites related to college planning that can be very helpful for you to get general tips for arriving at a decision. Some of the network web sites have discussion for that may have already dealt with your concerns.

Although the information gathered here is pretty focused and precise for you to arrive at a decision quickly, however, you do not have make a decision quickly. You may visit the following sites while pondering your decision. In the end, your decision should be an educated one, since this
is one of the most important decisions you will make in life. 

Useful Web Sites Related To College Planning

1. Sensible-Investors picks seven best college savings plan
2. State Plan Ratings
3. What is 529 Plan by TIAA-CREF
4. The way to save for college
5. The Internet guide to 529
6. TIAA-CREF serves 12 states college savings plans
7. USA Today's 'how state tuition plans rate' (be aware of date)
8. College savings plan network
9. College Planning network
10.College parents network
11. College savings plan by state - by OSU
12. State Prepaid Tuition Programs - by Mapping Your Future
13. The Best and the Rest College Savings Plan
14. Investment results
15. Business Week On-line Guide for College Savings Plan - 3/12/2001
16. Business Week On-line Guide for College Savings Plan - 3/11/2002

6. Value of This Mi-Card on College Planning (Mi-Card link)
- Callable Phone Directory with CodecPhone Calling Software Included. CodecPhone is based on the calling software developed by IPO2U.COM and is used by college community at CodecPhone 

- All 42 States' College Savings Plans 800 Numbers Are Callable, Free to the Caller. An example is given here, you may call the 800 number to talk to the plan manager: Alaska State College savings Plan, 800-369-3641, Investment manager T. Rowe Price, State income tax deductible. 
- Important Tips and Web Site Links Are Provided
- You May Call TLC Information Services for Updates

Click to Call MWSearch

7. Disclaimers
- 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 and agreement
- 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 On-Line secure Credit Card Payment
- The purchase price includes shipping and handling with sales tax extra. The Mi-Card Will Be Sent to You within Two Weeks by Certified Mail

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
Tel. 914-248-6770 
Fax. 914-248-6429

Click to Call MWSearch