CollegeInvest Matching Grant Program Terms and Conditions

The 2016-17 Matching Grant Program is now CLOSED. The 2017-18 Program will open Fall 2018, and our website will have the current information and application forms for the program.


General:

The Program is available to any individual who opens a CollegeInvest 529 College Savings Account, or any current Account Owner of a CollegeInvest account, and contributes to their CollegeInvest account between September 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018. 

  • The Account Owner must meet certain eligibility criteria as outlined in these Terms and Conditions including the required Income Eligibility Guidelines.

  • The Beneficiary of such CollegeInvest Account(s) to which contributions have been made must also meet certain Program eligibility requirements.

  • Any Matching Grant awarded will be based on the contributions made by the Account Owner between September 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018 and is subject to the available funding for the Program.

  • No more than one application per Beneficiary will be accepted for a Matching Grant in connection with contributions to their CollegeInvest Account(s). Account Owners can submit separate applications for multiple Beneficiaries.

  • Matching Grants will be limited to an aggregate of $400 in contributions to the CollegeInvest Account(s) for the same Beneficiary during the current Program Year.

There is no guarantee that funding for this program in subsequent years will be available.  If a determination is made and funding established by CollegeInvest for subsequent years, current Participants may be eligible to re-apply for Matching Grants for up to five (5) awards based on eligibility criteria applicable during those years.

Defined Terms:

Account Owner – The individual who owns and controls a CollegeInvest Account. For the Matching Grant Program, this individual must meet the eligibility requirements specified in these Terms and Conditions.

Beneficiary – The individual named in the account who will receive the benefits of the CollegeInvest Account, usually a student, child, or grandchild. For the Matching Grant Program, this individual must meet the eligibility requirements specified in these Terms and Conditions.

CollegeInvest – CollegeInvest is a not-for-profit division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, responsible for administering Colorado’s 529 college savings program. CollegeInvest manages and administers the Matching Grant Program.

CollegeInvest Account – An account or accounts in any plan offered under the CollegeInvest 529 College Savings Program administered by CollegeInvest. These plans currently include the Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan, Scholars Choice College Savings Program, Smart Choice College Savings Plan, and the Stable Value Plus College Savings Plan.

CollegeInvest Matching Grant, or Matching Grant, or Award – A grant of funds awarded under the Program by CollegeInvest to a qualified Matching Grant Applicant.

CollegeInvest Matching Grant Program, or Program – The program as described in these Terms and Conditions, as such Terms and Conditions may be amended from time to time by CollegeInvest.

Income Eligibility Guidelines – The income requirements applicable to Matching Grant Applicants under the Program as outlined in these Terms and Conditions. These requirements are based on the federal poverty levels and Colorado median family income published by the U.S. Census Department.

Matching Grant Account – A separate account owned and maintained by CollegeInvest for the Beneficiary of a CollegeInvest Account into which Matching Grant Funds will be deposited and applied in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.

Matching Grant Applicant, or Applicant – A CollegeInvest Account Owner applying for a CollegeInvest Matching Grant who meets the eligibility criteria outlined in these Terms and Conditions.

Matching Grant Funds – The funds awarded by CollegeInvest as a Matching Grant.

Participant – An Account Owner who has been awarded a CollegeInvest Matching Grant.

Program Year – The period running September 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018.
 

Matching Grant Applicant Eligibility:

The Applicant must be a Colorado resident and the parent (or legal guardian) of a child for which they can claim/declare as a dependent for tax purposes.

The Applicant must also meet the Income Eligibility Guidelines set forth below and provide verification of the Applicant’s family Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), by submitting the Matching Grant Applicant's federal income tax return or such other evidence acceptable to CollegeInvest for the calendar year prior to the current Program Year. The Application Form for the 2017-18 Program Year, and documentation of the Applicant’s 2016 family AGI are due to CollegeInvest by December 31, 2017.

The CollegeInvest Matching Grant Program will match a Participant’s contributions to their CollegeInvest Account only if the Participant’s 2016 family AGI for the prior year is 300 percent or less of the 2016 Federal Poverty Level based on family size. Each year, the Income Eligibility Guidelines for new Matching Grants will be reviewed and revised based on current Census information.  Income verification based on updated Income Eligibility Guidelines will be required for each year that a Participant applies for additional Matching Grant Awards.

If your family's Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is less than the amount listed for the number of dependent children and the number of parents/guardians in the household, you could be eligible for the CollegeInvest Matching Grant Program in 2017-18.

Note: The Income Eligibility Guidelines above are for Matching Grant Applicants with respect to contributions made between September 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018 and are based on the federal poverty levels for 2017 and federal poverty levels change periodically. CollegeInvest will update Income Eligibility Guidelines for the Program on a regular basis, based on the most up to date guidelines from the U.S. Census Department.


Beneficiary Eligibility:

The Beneficiary must be a Colorado resident and must not be older than 12 years of age at the time of the initial application by the Applicant. Furthermore, the Beneficiary must be a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, or is otherwise lawfully present in the U.S. pursuant to federal law. Colorado law requires verification of the lawful presence in the United States of all persons 18 years of age or older before providing public benefits. CollegeInvest will contact you and/or the Beneficiary for verification purposes when the Beneficiary approaches 18 years of age.

If Matching Grant Funds have been budgeted by the CollegeInvest Board of Directors and are available, funds for the benefit of a Beneficiary may be received for no more than five (5) years. A Participant must submit a new application for each Program Year. Furthermore, the Beneficiary must be under the age of 18 years as of May 31 of the Program Year for which the Applicant is applying for a subsequent Matching Grant. A Beneficiary may only be eligible for one Matching Grant Account. In the event of two Matching Grant Applicants with the same Beneficiary, only the first application received in good order and processed by CollegeInvest will be accepted.


Conditions to and Amount of Award:

If all of the eligibility criteria have been met and the application is approved, the Applicant will be notified in writing that they have received pre-approval from CollegeInvest. Receipt of this communication indicates to the Applicant that they can open or contribute to an existing CollegeInvest college savings account for the specified Beneficiary, and their contributions are eligible to be matched up to $400. All such Matching Grants to be awarded will be subject to the availability of funds budgeted by the CollegeInvest Board of Directors. Funds may not be available for a Matching Grant that has been awarded if the CollegeInvest Board of Directors does not budget for the Program in a particular year or if the amounts so budgeted have already been applied to other awarded Matching Grants. If the total Matching Grant contributions from all Participants exceed the budget approved by the CollegeInvest Board of Directors, then each Participant will receive the same prorated amount of the total budget not to exceed the Amount the Applicant initially contributed to their CollegeInvest college savings account on a first come first served basis, based on the application's date and time stamp by CollegeInvest until all budgeted funds are awarded.

CollegeInvest will award a Matching Grant to match the Applicant's contributions to his or her CollegeInvest Account(s) for a particular Beneficiary up to the first $400 contributed in aggregate during the applicable Program Year. Matching Grant funds will be awarded by July 31, 2018 for the current Program Year.


Duration of Eligibility for Participant and Beneficiary:

In the event the Matching Grant Program is funded, a Participant may be eligible for up to a total of five (5) years of Matching Grants, including the initial year of participation, if the following conditions are met:

  1. The Beneficiary specified on the Application Form was not older than 12 years of age at the time of the initial application, and is under the age of 18 years as of May 31 of the year for which the Applicant is applying for a subsequent Matching Grant.

  2. The Account Owner must re-apply for a Matching Grant each Program Year.

  3. The Participant’s family AGI continues to fall within the Income Eligibility Guidelines each Program Year.

  4. The Participant continues to meet the other eligibility requirements applicable to a Matching Grant Applicant.

  5. The Participant has contributed to his or her CollegeInvest Account between September 1 and May 31 of the Program year in which his or her application for a CollegeInvest Matching Grant has been approved.


Application for a CollegeInvest Matching Grant:

Account Owners who may be eligible to receive a Matching Grant for the current Program Year must submit a Matching Grant Application Form to CollegeInvest by December 31, 2017. Only one Application Form per Beneficiary. An Account Owner may apply for multiple Beneficiaries with separate CollegeInvest accounts, by submitting a separate Application Form for each Beneficiary.

By applying for the Program you agree to receive communications about the Program and your status from CollegeInvest by email or phone.
 

Application period and process:

Application Forms for the current Matching Grant Program will be accepted between September 1 and December 31, 2017 for contributions which will be made to a CollegeInvest Account during the current Program Year. Matching Grant Applicants must complete the Application Form, attach their federal income tax return for the previous calendar year or  other evidence acceptable to CollegeInvest (in the event that no federal tax return has been filed) and submit the Application Form to CollegeInvest by the deadline. Eligibility for an award will be determined by CollegeInvest based on the Application Form and tax return information provided to CollegeInvest by the Applicant.

If the Applicant’s Application Form is approved, the Applicant will be notified and a separate Matching Grant Account, owned by CollegeInvest, will be set up in the name of the Beneficiary listed in the Application Form (see additional details below about the Matching Grant Account). A Matching Grant Award contributed by CollegeInvest to this Account will be determined by the aggregate amount contributed to the Applicant’s CollegeInvest Account(s) during the correlating Program Year, not to exceed $400. The Applicant can make contributions to multiple accounts for the same Beneficiary during the current Program Year, but it is the responsibility of the Applicant to notify CollegeInvest that they are using multiple accounts to qualify for the full $400 award.

Matching Grant Funds will be deposited to Matching Grant Accounts for approved 2017-18 applications by July 31, 2018. Matching Grants are subject to the availability of budgeted funds and Matching Grant Awards will be awarded in the order that the application and all applicable tax forms were received, processed and approved during the application period of September 1 – December 31, 2017.

If the Matching Grant Applicant or Beneficiary is deemed ineligible and the application is rejected, the Applicant will be notified by CollegeInvest in writing.

Any Account Owner who fails to apply or Participant who fails to re-apply for Matching Grant Funds by the deadline shall be ineligible to receive Matching Grant Funds for contributions made to the CollegeInvest Account for the current Program Year. However, the Account Owner or Participant may apply for future Matching Grant Funds provided that eligibility requirements (see Matching Grant Applicant Eligibility section) continue to be satisfied.


Payments from Matching Grant Account:

Payments from Matching Grant Accounts will be made directly to institutions of higher education as defined by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, without exception, upon receipt by CollegeInvest of a properly authorized request for payment from the Account Owner. Payments will be available from Matching Grant Funds and any applicable earnings in the Matching Grant Account. Such payments shall be applied solely toward qualified 529 expenses at an institution of higher education as defined by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code (as amended periodically) and are considered qualified withdrawals. In the event the Participant makes a withdrawal from a CollegeInvest Account for which he or she is the Account Owner, CollegeInvest has the right to request documentation of higher education expenses for determination of whether or not the withdrawal was qualified or non-qualified. Failure to produce such documentation to CollegeInvest in the timeframe established by CollegeInvest will result in determination that the withdrawal was non-qualified for the purposes of the Matching Grant Account.

Any withdrawal from the Participant’s CollegeInvest Account that is not considered a qualified withdrawal under the Internal Revenue Code is deemed a non-qualified withdrawal. In the event the Participant makes a non-qualified withdrawal from his/her CollegeInvest Account, funds in the Matching Grant Account are subject to reduction in an amount equal to the amount withdrawn plus any applicable earnings on such amount. If the total of the non-qualified withdrawal is paid back during the same calendar year as the withdrawal, the funds in the Matching Grant Account will not be subject to the reduction. CollegeInvest will only make payments from a Matching Grant Account to an institution of higher education in an amount that is equal to a qualified withdrawal from the Participant’s CollegeInvest Account established for the Beneficiary. If, at the time of a qualified withdrawal request, the Matching Grant Account has more money than the Participant's CollegeInvest Account, and the excess money is from earnings in the account, then the Participant is eligible to withdraw from the excess money in the Matching Grant Account. The request for a payment from the Matching Grant Account must be accompanied by documentation of a qualified withdrawal request from the Participant’s CollegeInvest Account for the same Beneficiary and in an amount no less than the requested Matching Grant Account.  

For example, if a Beneficiary has $1,000 in expenses at an institution of higher education, $500 must be withdrawn from the Participant’s CollegeInvest Account, and $500 can then be paid by CollegeInvest from the Matching Grant Account. If, at the time of the withdrawal request, the Matching Grant Account is left with a balance of $50 or less, those remaining funds will be disbursed to the institution of higher education listed on the current Withdrawal Request Form, and the Matching Grant Account will be closed.


Participant’s CollegeInvest Account vs. Matching Grant Account:

Once accepted into the CollegeInvest Matching Grant Program and receiving Matching Grant Award there will be, at a minimum, two (2) active accounts for the Beneficiary:

Ownership and Investment of Participant’s CollegeInvest Account

The Participant opens, owns and otherwise maintains control of his/her CollegeInvest account as the Account Owner. The Participant chooses investment options and determines when and if funds are disbursed according to Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. His or her CollegeInvest Account is governed by the rules set forth in the Plan Disclosure Statement for the particular plan in which the Participant (as Account Owner) has invested.

Ownership and Investment of Matching Grant Account

The Matching Grant Account is a separate account opened, owned and otherwise maintained by CollegeInvest and is governed by the rules and regulations set forth in these Terms and Conditions. The Applicant verifies that he/she has read the CollegeInvest Matching Grant Program Terms and Conditions when applying for Matching Grant Funds and agrees to all the conditions for the Matching Grant Account set forth by CollegeInvest. Matching Grant Funds are deposited into a Matching Grant Account for a designated Beneficiary and are invested by CollegeInvest. CollegeInvest is the account owner of this account and the Matching Grant Funds in such account are wholly owned and maintained by CollegeInvest for such Beneficiary. Matching Grant Funds deposited into a Matching Grant Account will initially be invested in the CollegeInvest Stable Value Plus College Savings Plan. Please see the CollegeInvest Stable Value Plus College Savings Plan Description for more details. As CollegeInvest will be the account owner for the Matching Grant Account, neither the Participant nor the Beneficiary will have any direction over the Matching Grant Account or how it is invested.  CollegeInvest, at its sole discretion and without notice to or approval from the Beneficiary or Participant, reserves the right to change investment options for the Matching Grant Account. See details below outlining additional differences between accounts.

Additional differences between Participant’s CollegeInvest Account and the Matching Grant Account.

The following applies to changes in Beneficiary of Accounts:

  1. The Participant may change the Beneficiary for his/her CollegeInvest Account subject to the restrictions set forth in Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code as set forth in the applicable CollegeInvest Plan Disclosure Statement(s). See the Plan Disclosure Statement for the Plan you are invested in for more details.

  2. In the event of a change for the Participant’s CollegeInvest Account in the Beneficiary which was designated in connection with the Application, the Beneficiary for the Matching Grant Account will be changed to the Beneficiary that matches the named Beneficiary on the Participant’s CollegeInvest Account, provided that the new Beneficiary meets the Beneficiary eligibility requirements for the Matching Grant Program. In the event that the new Beneficiary for such CollegeInvest Account does not meet the eligibility requirements for the Matching Grant Program, the established Matching Grant Account will be revoked. 


The following applies to withdrawals from Accounts:

  1. The Participant may make qualified and non-qualified withdrawals from his/her CollegeInvest Account in accordance with applicable CollegeInvest plan guidelines. See Plan Disclosure Statements for the Plan you are invested in for more details.

  2. CollegeInvest will disburse the funds in the Matching Grant Account only for qualified 529 expenses at a qualified higher education institution as defined by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. Such a disbursement will only be made to match the amount of a qualified withdrawal from the Participant’s CollegeInvest Account for the same Beneficiary.

  3. In the event the Participant makes a non-qualified withdrawal, fund transfer, or rollover out of his/her CollegeInvest Account(s), CollegeInvest will reduce the amount in the related Matching Grant Account by an amount equal to the Participant’s non-qualified withdrawal plus any applicable earnings on that amount.  


The following applies to investment options for Accounts:

  1. The Participant can choose any investment option available under the CollegeInvest plan for his/her CollegeInvest Account. See the Plan Disclosure Statement for the Plan you are invested in for more details.

  2. Neither the Participant nor the designated Beneficiary of the Participant's CollegeInvest Account has the authority to choose the investment options for the Matching Grant Account. CollegeInvest will initially invest all amounts in a Matching Grant Account for the Beneficiary in the CollegeInvest Stable Value Plus College Savings Plan. CollegeInvest, at its sole discretion and without notice to or approval from the Beneficiary or Participant, reserves the right to change investment options for the Matching Grant Account at any time.

 

Revocation of Matching Grant Account:

In the event there is no qualified withdrawal from the CollegeInvest Account established for the Beneficiary within four (4) years after the Beneficiary is eligible for such withdrawal (typically 18 years of age), CollegeInvest shall revoke the total amount of the value of the Matching Grant Account. No payments will be made from a Matching Grant Account later than six (6) years after the Beneficiary is eligible for such a qualified withdrawal from the CollegeInvest Account, regardless of whether qualified withdrawals have been made during that six (6) year period, and any funds remaining in the Matching Grant Account after that period shall be revoked. Appeals for exceptions to this term or for reinstatement of the Matching Grant Account may be submitted to CollegeInvest in writing and any determination for an exception or reimbursement will be made by CollegeInvest in its sole discretion.

 

Public Assistance Consequences:

Determining the effect of the Matching Grant Account and the Participant’s CollegeInvest Account on eligibility for public assistance programs is the responsibility of the Participant/Account Owner. The Participant/Account Owner should consult a qualified advisor to determine how a college savings plan and/or an award such as a Matching Grant may affect eligibility for state and/or federal benefits. CollegeInvest makes no representation in regard to the effects of a Matching Grant Account or CollegeInvest Account on eligibility for public assistance programs.


Tax Advantages and Consequences:

Participant’s CollegeInvest Account. To learn about tax advantages and consequences for any CollegeInvest Account, please refer to the Plan Disclosure Statement for the applicable CollegeInvest plan in which you are invested.

The Matching Grant Account. While no formal ruling has been made by the Internal Revenue Service, since a separate Matching Grant Account is established on behalf of a Participant’s Beneficiary and CollegeInvest is considered the Account Owner of this account it is likely that there is no federal tax liability to the Participant or the Beneficiary with respect to the Matching Grant Account before withdrawals are made.

However, the Internal Revenue Service could take the position that Matching Grants are subject to federal income taxation in the year the grant is awarded. Withdrawals from the Matching Grant Account used to pay tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for enrollment or attendance at a qualifying educational institution will likely not be subject to federal income tax, but any amounts used to pay for room and board expenses would likely be subject to federal income tax.  Although room and board expenses are qualified expenses under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code (with limitations), CollegeInvest has chosen to prohibit the use of Matching Grant Funds for room and board expenses to avoid creating potential income tax liability for the Beneficiary.

Matching Grant Applicants, Participants and Beneficiaries should consult a qualified tax professional regarding the federal and/or state tax treatment of Matching Grants and college savings plan investments and earnings.


Income and Program Eligibility Verification:

In the event CollegeInvest determines that any false information was provided by the Participant with respect to his or her Program eligibility, including satisfaction of the Income Eligibility Guidelines, CollegeInvest shall have the right to immediately revoke the Matching Grant Account without the consent of or prior notice to the Participant or the Beneficiary. The selection of Matching Grant Program Participants will be conducted by CollegeInvest personnel whose decisions shall be final.


Updated Terms and Conditions:

To meet the demands of the CollegeInvest Matching Grant Program, CollegeInvest reserves the right to and may periodically make adjustments to the Program's Terms and Conditions including, but not restricted to, the Income Eligibility Guidelines, Matching Grant award caps, contribution matching ratios, and investments for Matching Grant Accounts.