Give the gift of an Education

Regional winner in the 2018 When I Grow Up essay contest Isaac Napier and his mother Denise, center, join Treasurer John Perdue and Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert for an event at Marshall to launch the SMART529 Gift Cards.

This holiday season, give the children you care about the lifelong gift of higher education.
Gifting money for a SMART529 savings account is now easier than ever with the new Gift of College gift card program. Gift of College is an online gift registry program that allows family and friends to contribute toward higher education. Each Gift of College gift card can be used by recipients to fund a new or existing 529 college savings account or to pay down student loan debt.

“The holiday season is a perfect time to give the gift of college,” said Treasurer John Perdue during a launch event for the gift cards at Marshall University Nov. 16. “The new SMART529 gift card makes it a lot easier for parents and grandparents saving for a child’s college education. Instead of buying another toy, families can purchase a new SMART529 gift card for any student and can be redeemed on SMART529’s website through an existing account or after a new account is established.”

The gift cards can be purchased at You may choose to have a physical card delivered to you if you have time, or get an instant link sent to you via text or email. The Gift of College Gift Cards can also be found in select Target stores.
“The gift cards are really something that’s nice for grandparents and family to give because it’s something that they can give that’s tangible to kids and they can open up a card with it and actually have something they can hold in their hands,” said Amber Morris, whose son Jude recently received a $500 gift card to be put toward a SMART529 account for being a regional winner in the 2018 When I Grow Up essay contest. “But they don’t see the full value of that until many years down the road.”

Gift card denominations range from $25 to $200 (convenience and delivery charges may apply). The best part: there is no expiration date for redeeming the funds.

Gift of College gift cards help both purchasers and recipients learn more about these plans and begin the process of saving through them.
Looking for a gift that just keeps giving? After opening an account, West Virginia residents may deduct contributions to SMART529 accounts from the federal adjusted gross income on the West Virginia Personal Income Tax return (see Schedule M). Your SMART529 contributions also grow federal and state tax free and remain that way if used for qualified education expenses.

Learn more about the SMART529 program or open an account at