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Give a Gift

The gift of education is always welcome whether for special occasions, holidays, or just to recognize the achievements of a special young person.

Are you a Maine resident? If either the account owner or the account beneficiary is a Maine resident, contributions, including gifts, may be matched with Maine’s annual NextStep Matching Grant1. Contributions will be matched by 30% every year, up to a $300 match.

How to Make a Gift Contribution

Consider enlisting grandparents, other family members, and friends to give the gift of education and help you meet your family’s college savings goals.

Gift givers can contribute to your account by mailing a check:

  1. Instruct the gift giver to write a check to: NextGen 529 FBO (your child’s name)
  2. Download, fill out (make sure you include the account number), and mail a contribution coupon with the check:

Contribution coupon for Direct Series account owners
Contribution coupon for Select Series account owners (opened and maintained with a financial advisor other than Merrill)

Select Series account owners with a Merrill financial advisor must contact your financial advisor for help making a gift contribution.

Am I a Direct Series or Select Series Account Owner? Question mark icon

Did you know gift contributions can be made through Gift of College?


Gift of College* offers options for family and friends to make contributions to college savings accounts.  A NextGen 529 account owner can create an online gift registry at and link it to his or her account.  Relatives and friends can then use Gift of College to make gift contributions to the NextGen 529 account online or to purchase a Gift of College gift card.  Visit to learn more!


Estate Planning

A contribution to a 529 plan account is treated as a completed gift from the donor to the designated beneficiary of the account and qualifies for the annual federal gift tax exclusion of $16,000 ($32,000 for married couples filing jointly), per beneficiary. This affords a unique opportunity in which you can remove assets from your taxable estate while contributing to an account that you control. You may also be able to take advantage of a federal gift tax election that applies only to 529 plan contributions. This election allows a lump-sum contribution of up to $80,000 ($160,000 for married couples filing jointly), which is five times the annual exclusion amount, per beneficiary in one year and treats the contribution as if it was made ratably over five years. This gifting strategy may be an attractive option for grandparents wishing to help fund college for one or more grandchildren.3