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Turner/Bryant Measure To Allow Income Tax Breaks For College Tuition Contributions Clears Senate Education Committee

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Shirley K. Turner and Wayne R. Bryant that would allow an increased gross income tax deduction for people who contribute to the New Jersey Better Educational Savings Trust (NJBEST) program has been unanimously approved by the Senate Education Committee.

NJBEST is New Jersey’s 529 college funding savings plan operated by States or educational institutions to help families save funds to pay for future college tuition. Named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, a 529 account can either be a prepaid or savings account.

“As the cost of higher education continues to increase throughout New Jersey and the rest of the country, it is imperative that families start saving earlier for their children’s tuition,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer, who chairs the Senate Education panel. “The goal of this legislation is to help offset ever-increasing tuition costs, and help to ease the financial burden of college on parents and students.”

The Senators’ measure, S-1656, would allow NJBEST contributions of up to $5,000 per year to be fully tax deductible. Currently, deductions from NJBEST accounts are exempt from State and Federal taxes.

“For many families, college tuition is one of the highest bills they’ll ever have to pay,” said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester. “This legislation would especially benefit lower-income families, who make the sacrifice to set aside money for college tuition to help give their children the opportunity for a better future, without having to incur debt from student loans.”

This measure now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for a vote.