SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: RealWire News Distribution, Cynthia Dunlop, Mark O'Neill, Kevin Benedict

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This Holiday Season Give the Gift That Lasts a Lifetime

Open a ScholarShare College Savings Account and Start Saving

SACRAMENTO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 12/16/13 -- It's officially gift-giving season, and with one less weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas, ScholarShare, California's 529 college savings plan, reminds parents, grandparents and family members to give the gift of a college education to a loved one.

Less time to buy gifts puts pressure on family members, but it's easy to open a ScholarShare account or make a contribution to an existing account. You can start with as little as $25, and after you've opened the account and made a contribution, you can download a "Gift of Education Certificate," which is available in a holiday theme. The certificate also allows for a personal message to the beneficiary.

ScholarShare, recently named one of the nine best 529 plans in the nation by a prominent ratings agency, offers a wide variety of low-cost investment options. It also provides valuable tax advantages. Any US citizen, or resident alien with a valid Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number, can open a new account. Funds can be used at any eligible educational institution in the nation, and some abroad, for a variety of qualified higher education expenses, including mandatory fees, books, supplies, or even certain room and board costs.

College savings specialists are available for phone and in-person consultations at no cost.

About the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan:
ScholarShare accounts may be opened with as little as $25 per investment portfolio. ScholarShare has no annual account maintenance fee, no income limit and offers a high maximum account balance. Established in 1999, ScholarShare currently holds more than $5 billion in assets in more than 245,000 accounts as of 6/30/13. To sign up for an account or for more information about the plan, visit www.scholarshare.com. For information about the ScholarShare Investment Board (SIB), visit www.treasurer.ca.gov/scholarshare. Like ScholarShare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scholarshare529 and follow us on Twitter at @ScholarShare529.

Named for the section of the IRS code under which they were created, 529 plans offer valuable tax advantages. Contributions are made with money that has already been taxed. Once funds are placed in the account, investment earnings, if any, are not federally or state taxed, if withdrawn to pay for qualified higher education costs.

Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan. Please visit www.scholarshare.com for a Program Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Read it carefully.

The tax information contained herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax. Non-qualified withdrawals may also be subject to an additional 2.5% California tax on earnings.

Investments in the Program are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss.

The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan Twitter and Facebook pages are managed by the state of California.

TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Program Manager.

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