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Saving for future education costs in Oregon?

Saving for future education costs in Oregon?

 Content Editor

April 7, 2023

You can – and with cans.

In fact, the option of steering redemptions from can (and bottle) deposits into Oregon College Savings Plan (OCSP) accounts has proved so popular that a milestone $1 million had been saved as of March 31, 2023.

That adds up to an astonishing 10 million containers redeemed and recycled through the three-year-old partnership between OCSP and BottleDrop, which collects recyclable beverage containers at storefronts statewide and repays deposits as part of the Oregon Bottle Bill.

“Let’s keep saving!” said Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read. “Saving a combined $1 million toward education and training after high school is a significant accomplishment, and one that comes with an important bonus conservation benefit.”

The one-of-a-kind program allows individuals and families from across the state to set up automatic fund transfers from their BottleDrop account to one or more OCSP accounts. To date, more than 5,000 Oregonians have uncorked savings for higher education expenses via this innovative option.

Among those savers is the Branam family in Portland. With help from neighbors, friends, and family members to collect containers, Ceci (11) and Eli (7) have saved more than $3,500 in just two years.

“We saw this as an opportunity to help Ceci and Eli learn more about being good stewards of the environment, building community with our neighbors, and contributing to their college savings accounts," says their dad, John Branam.

BottleDrop account holders can save for themselves, for their kids, for their grandkids, or as a gift to anyone with an OCSP account. You can learn more here.

Setting up a new OCSP account takes about 15 minutes. A single BottleDrop account can contribute to multiple OCSP accounts, further streamlining the contribution process. OCSP is a state-sponsored savings program that comes with special tax advantages, including eligibility for a state income tax credit worth up to $300 for anyone who makes contributions.

Oregonians can return empty beverage containers at any of BottleDrop’s 97 convenient bag drop locations across the state. Account holders with a minimum balance of $5 in their BottleDrop account can approve either one-time manual transfers or set up monthly recurring transfers.

“This is the only place in the world where people can so directly connect recycling and environmental stewardship with education savings,” said Jules Bailey, President and Chief Executive Officer for the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, which operates the BottleDrop network.

“The power of Oregon’s Bottle Bill, coupled with the creativity of the State Treasurer’s Office, made way for a truly unique partnership that is helping families across Oregon save for education,” he said.

In addition to saving for education, Oregonians also have the option to contribute their BottleDrop redemptions to a tax-friendly Oregon ABLE Savings Plan account, which helps people experiencing disabilities and their families to save money. As with OCSP, anyone who makes contributions to an Oregon ABLE account can earn the state’s refundable tax credit.

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