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Maine

Initiative Calls on Businesses to Help Employees Save for Kids’ College

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Robbie Feinberg
/
Maine Public
Students from Deering High School work on a financial literacy workshop inside the school's gymnasium.

The Finance Authority of Maine is calling on businesses, political leaders, school officials and families to work together to help every student in the state save for higher education.

The goal is part of a new initiative called Invest in ME 2030, which wants every student saving for college by 2030.

FAME CEO Bruce Wagner says that the average Maine resident has nearly $31,000 in student loan debt. He says families need to start saving early, and he also wants to see businesses contribute by giving money to education savings plans.

“And maybe employers should think about making contributions to those accounts as a way to create a great environment for their employees, and give them a benefit that’s so meaningful to Maine’s future,” Wagner says.

Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botano agrees, saying tax-deductible savings plans would help employees save for their children.

“That makes it easy for their employees to think proactively about saving for children’s college,” he says.

Maine has a limited number of savings initiatives already, including the Alfond Grant, which gives a $500 grant to every child born in Maine. Wagner says that that amount is a small start, but he wants to see more done to help Maine’s students.