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Kip Tips

Give the Gift of College

Instead of giving kids toys and video games, open a 529 college savings plan or student loan savings account for them and contribute to it.

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Looking for a baby gift that keeps on giving? Gift of College, an online registry for 529 plans and student loan accounts, lets you contribute to a child's college education with gift cards for 529 college savings plans. Find the cards at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores in amounts ranging from $25 to $500, plus a service fee, or buy them online for amounts up to $300.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Values in U.S. Colleges, 2016

Parents create a profile with Gift of College and redeem the card by linking it to an existing 529 plan. If the child doesn’t have one, the site prompts parents to start one from a number of state plans available. Use a similar setup to help pay off student loans.

If you’ve got unused or unwanted gift cards from the holidays, swap them on the site for a Gift of College e-card. The exchange accepts cards from more than 200 retailers and restaurants; you keep as much as 85% of the value. For example, you could recently swap a $100 Nordstrom gift card for an $80 Gift of College e-card.

Leaf College Savings also offers gift cards for 529 plans and follows a similar redemption process.

SEE ALSO: 10 Great Colleges That Cost Less Than $20,000