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We have a free $100 gift to help you start saving for college for your newborn child. Really.

Introducing FIRST STEP, a free kickstarter saving program for Colorado newborns from CollegeInvest, Colorado’s 529 college saving program. 

Children aged twelve to eighteen who have a college savings account are twice as likely to expect to go to college as those who do not have a college savings account. Knowing this, the Colorado legislature passed a bill in the 2019 session that creates Child Starter Accounts (CSA), giving every child born or adopted in Colorado a $100 contribution to their CollegeInvest 529 college savings account.

The First Step by CollegeInvest program starts January 1, 2020. Online applications will be accepted beginning Tuesday, February 18, 2020.


Who’s Eligible for the Program?
The one-time $100 contribution from CollegeInvest is available for any child born or adopted in the State of Colorado on or after January 1, 2020.  The child must be a U.S citizen or resident alien with a social security number or federal tax identification number. The parent or legal guardian must apply for the program before the child’s 5th birthday.


How Does First Step Work?
The First Step Program by CollegeInvest provides a $100 contribution to the CollegeInvest account of a Beneficiary born or adopted in the State of Colorado on or after January 1, 2020.  If you do not have a CollegeInvest account, you must open one prior to your application.  The Account Owner must be a parent/legal guardian and the eligible child must be the Beneficiary.

  • CollegeInvest offers one of the broadest selections of savings plans in the country
  • Your savings and earnings grow tax free, as long as the funds are used for the approved expenses¹
  • Contributions to your account are eligible for a Colorado state income tax deduction for Colorado taxpayers²
  • Savings can be used anywhere in the country, at almost any college, university, community college, trade school or vocational program

Next, apply for the program. You will need the account number of the CollegeInvest account you just opened, and a copy or PDF of their birth certificate (or adoption documents). Click on the APPLY NOW button in the reference section above.

If you and the Beneficiary meet all of the eligibility requirements, you will be notified by email from CollegeInvest and the $100 contribution will be deposited in your CollegeInvest account within 30 business days.

If you and /or the Beneficiary are deemed ineligible, you will be notified by email from CollegeInvest.


Why should I apply for the program?
An education beyond high school is invaluable, whether the choice is a trade school or a college or university. First Step is meant to help Colorado families jump start their savings as soon as possible. As your child grows, your savings have the potential to grow as well, broadening the choices and opportunities to their future.

The chart below give examples of how starting early can impact your savings over time:

*This hypothetical example illustrates the accumulation potential with an initial deposit consisting of the $100 First Step contribution and a contribution equal to the recurring amount saved (ie – $25, $50, $100, $150); a recurring monthly contribution (ie – $25, $50, $100, $150); and a 5% projected average annual return. The above example is based on projections and does not reflect your actual investment. Your actual results may be more or less.

Source: Bankrate Savings Account Compound Interest Calculator

Investment returns are not guaranteed and you could lose money, including principal.


¹ A Non-Qualified Withdrawal is subject to federal and state income taxes on the earnings portion, and a 10% penalty on the earning portion. In addition, any state tax deductions for contributions may be subject to recapture in subsequent years. For a list of the Qualified Expenses click HERE


² Contributions to a Plan by a Colorado taxpayer are deductible from Colorado state income tax in the tax year of the contribution, up to your Colorado taxable income for that year. These deductions are subject to recapture in subsequent years in which non-qualified withdrawals are made.

Frequently asked questions about First Step:

When can I apply? VERY IMPORTANT!

We receive birth and adoption information from the State of Colorado on a monthly basis. We add that into the online application system for verification purposes. The updated data is refreshed on the 15th of the month so there will be a slight delay before you apply. For example, if your child was born or adopted in the month of February, you must wait until March 15th or later to apply.

What does it cost to participate?

Participation in the First Step program is FREE! If you don’t already have a CollegeInvest account, the parent or legal guardian will need to open up an account naming the child as the beneficiary. If you need help choosing a plan, click HERE. Most plans can be opened unfunded, but you may also choose to make an initial contribution, or set up automatic contributions from your checking or savings account. You can even have your Colorado state income tax refund deposited directly into your CollegeInvest account!

Is there a State tax deduction?

While the $100 contribution to your CollegeInvest account cannot be claimed as a Colorado state income tax deduction, any subsequent contributions that you make to the account now or in the future can be deducted.

How is this program funded?

Per statute, the First Step funding was transferred from the Colorado Collegeinvest Scholarship Program (CCSP) created in Section 23-3.206.9. This was done at no cost to Colorado taxpayers or CollegeInvest account owners. The CCSP fund is a legacy Colorado Obligation Bond Authority account held in the State Treasury. The transfer of does not impact the current CollegeInvest Scholarship or Matching Grant programs.