General Information

Starting January 1, 2020, every child born or adopted who is a Massachusetts resident will be eligible* to receive a $50 seed deposit into his or her U.Fund account from the State Treasurer’s Office.

*within one year of birth or adoption

Families who want to participate in the BabySteps Savings Plan need to open a U.Fund 529 College Investing Plan account. The account creator has 30 days from account opening to opt out of the program if he or she does not want to receive the $50 deposit. Eligible BabySteps accounts will receive the free $50 deposit approximately 6 weeks after they are opened. After opening the account, families can begin making contributions and will receive information about growing their children’s accounts.

Eligible BabySteps accounts will receive their free $50 deposit approximately 6 weeks after they are opened. The account creator has 30 days from account opening to opt out of the program if they do not want to receive the $50 deposit.

Opening a 529 college savings account at birth allows more time for savings to accumulate and parents to make contributions to the account. Research shows at-birth college savings account programs maximize the opportunity for a positive impact on children’s social-emotional health and development of college-bound identity.

Every college savings account affiliated with the BabySteps Savings Plan will be a 529 college savings account, a tax-advantaged plan authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code and designed to encourage saving for higher education. These accounts are specifically offered through the Massachusetts U.Fund, which is sponsored by MEFA and managed by Fidelity Investments.

The $50 deposits for the BabySteps Savings Plan will be funded without the use of taxpayer dollars. Through the Economic Empowerment Trust Fund, public-private partnerships will be developed to fund the seed deposit. The founding sponsor of the program is the Hildreth Stewart Charitable Foundation, donating $300,000 to the Economic Empowerment Trust Fund for BabySteps Savings Plan.

Most public benefit programs are not affected by savings in a 529 account up to a certain limit. For more information please review this document.

Eligibility

Any child who is a Massachusetts resident and was born or adopted on or after January 1, 2020 is eligible to receive a $50 seed deposit from the State Treasurer’s Office into a U.Fund account with that child as the Beneficiary. The $50 seed deposit can only be received within one year of the child’s birth or adoption.

At this time, we encourage all families to sign up for a U.Fund 529 College Investing Plan account. However, only Massachusetts families who have a child born or adopted on or after January 1, 2020 will be eligible to receive a $50 seed deposit into their U.Fund.

Although your child may not be eligible for the seed deposit, there are other programs that might be available to you in your community. Please check Massachusetts’ CSA Programs to see if there are programs that provide seed deposits or incentives for children in your city/town.

ABLE accounts are not eligible for the BabySteps deposit. However, a family may open a 529 account for a child, receive the $50 seed deposit into the 529 account, and then transfer those funds into an ABLE account for the same child without incurring any tax or penalty. The funds rolled over from the 529 plan are subject to the annual contribution limit of $15,000 into an ABLE account.

Yes! Any family member or loved one can open a child’s 529 account as long as that person has all the necessary information.

529 assets have a relatively small effect on federal financial aid eligibility because they are considered assets of the parent in the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Parent assets in 529 college savings accounts (or any savings account) are treated at a rate of at most 5.6% in the EFC.

Learn more about the effect on financial aid.

Your College Savings Account

For the account holder (family member or loved one) you will need to provide your:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number (EIN)/Federal Tax Identification Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Legal Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Employment Information (if employed)

For the beneficiary (the child) you will need to provide his or her:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Legal Address

529 college savings funds can be used to pay for:

  • K-12 tuition expenses ($10,000 per year)
  • Certain apprenticeship programs
  • College costs including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and special needs services
  • Repayment of qualified student loans up to $10,000

No! The U.Fund 529 college savings can be used at any accredited college or vocational school across the U.S. and in other countries throughout the world. Check out this list to browse all eligible institutions.

Yes! Any family member or friend can add to your 529 account through College Gifting.