Twenty-seven states are banding together to take on the student debt crisis through a national campaign that launched in early March. The aim of the campaign, led by the 529 College Savings Plans Network, is to limit college debt for new generations by helping families plan ahead for higher education costs.

“More than 44 million Americans have student debt that eats away at paychecks, limits opportunities and leads them to put off buying homes and having children,” said 529 Campaign Chairman Young Boozer III in a news release. “On March 4 we started our march forth, joining together to set our kids and grandkids on a better path with 529s.”

The 27-state alliance involves 46 partners including state treasurers, higher education agencies, financial service firms and other state officials. The public-private partnership was formed on the basis of increasing awareness of 529s, the release said.

According to a poll conducted by the group last month, 68 percent of Americans have never heard of the state-led college savings plans.

“The states involved are as diverse as Washington and TexasUtah and New YorkCalifornia and Tennessee,” said Betty Lochner of Washington in the release. “Though we may have differing philosophies, we are working together to reach the 68 percent who haven’t heard of this tool that lessens reliance on student loans.

“We want parents to know that by consistently investing a little at a time and using a 529 College Savings Plan, they can prevent their children from having insurmountable debt.”

529 plans are administered by state agencies and organizations in 49 states and Washington, D.C.The effort to address student debt marks the first time state plans and their partners have united to launch a national campaign.

The states’ 529 message will be amplified throughout 2019 and into 2020 under an agreement with Fred Rogers Productions, the children’s entertainment company founded by educational TV pioneer Fred Rogers. The campaign’s spots will air before and after episodes of the PBS KIDS series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. The series is one of the highest co-viewed children’s shows among parents and young children and is based on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Source: 529 College Savings Plans Network