Idaho's state's treasury department was eastern Idaho for the first College for Kids Week campaign Wednesday.
Christine Stoll, the department's savings program executive director, said the goal is to teach both parents and students the importance of investing early in their future.
"At this age, they really do think they can be anything, and they can be," Stoll said. "So we just need to keep encouraging that and find ways to help families make that true."
Stoll said a lack of college savings is a big problem across the state, with Idaho ranking 36th in country when it comes to kids going on to post-secondary education. She said the third top reason for kids not going to college is because parents have a difficult time figuring out how to fund it.
The state-based college savings program, IDeal, is an online program where parents can invest in ensuring their kids' futures in higher education. The program offers 529 plans.
The program has various investment options parents can choose from, including a savings plan option backed by Sallie Mae.
As with anything people invest in, there are risks. Those risks especially depend on the value of the fluctuating financial market.
"Just like with any other investment, you ride the wave, so I would caution anybody who is going to do some investing that it's a long-term goal," Stoll said.
Those investing have the option of taking a direct deposit from their paychecks. There are even age-based options that consider how old a child is, along with high- to low-risk options.
Stoll said the state has implemented tax incentives to encourage people to use this form of college savings.
A single filer can invest up to $4,000 and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax exemption credit, and a dual-family filer can invest up to $8,000.
See the IDeal website at https://www.idsaves.org.