Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is eligible to enroll in the Providence Promise?

Families with children in Providence Public Schools or Providence Public Charter Schools, up to the eighth grade.

2. Will I get my money back if I withdraw from Providence Promise?

If you withdraw from the program, the money you have saved in your 529 account is still yours.

3. What happens if I lose my job after enrolling in Providence Promise and have no income?

If you do not have an income, your monthly contribution will be reduced to $5. You and your child will still be in good standing with Providence Promise.

4. What happens if I have an income but cannot make payments?

The Providence Promise team will work with you to resolve the issue. If the issue cannot be resolved, your participation in the program will be stopped and you the 529 account with your contribution will remain yours.

5. Which colleges and technical/trade schools are eligible?

Any school in the continental United States that has an accredited program and accepts the guidelines of this program, including an agreement not to take into account the resources of this program when calculating financial aid, is eligible.

6. Who will manage the money?

Your contributions will be deposited in the State of Rhode Island’s 529 College Bound Saver program, which is administered by Ascensus College Savings. Ascensus provides program management and administration services for 31 plans across 17 states with 3.4 million accounts and over $66 billion in assets under administration. CollegeBound will issue statements to you quarterly.

7. How will my payments into Providence Promise be determined?

You will give Providence Promise proof of income, which can be in the form of a pay stub or tax return, and then you will receive a notice and calculation of your monthly contributions.

8. What if I am not a citizen and/or do not report income to the IRS?

To be eligible, you must provide an annual federal tax return or other documentation acceptable to Providence Promise. Opening a 529 CollegeBound Saver account requires a Social Security Number, but a friend or family member may open the account on your behalf if you do not have one.

9. Will I receive a statement showing my payments?

Yes, you will receive a quarterly statement showing your payment history. Additionally, a financial statement and annual report for Providence Promise will be provided to each participant. There will also be an annual meeting and regular newsletters to keep you up-to-date on Providence Promise and its results.

10. How do I know my money will be there?

To ensure safety and security, you will make contributions into your personal CollegeBound Saver 529 account, which is sponsored by the State of Rhode Island and administered by Ascensus.

11. What if I have 4 children?

You can defer contributions in excess of 2% of your annual household income. Instead of contributing on percent of your income for each of your four children, you could contribute two percent total, and defer the additional two percent.

12. What if I move to another state or my child leaves the Providence Public School System?

You can continue in Providence Promise as long as you keep contributing and your child has been in the program for at least four years. However, for each year that your child is not in the Providence Public School system, your contribution rate will increase by 1/4 percent and your contribution period will increase one year for every three years that your child is not in the Providence Public School System.

13. Can I transfer the benefits of the program to another sibling/child in my family?


14. What if my child gets a full scholarship?

If your child does not receive any funds from Providence Promise, then he or she will not be required to make contributions back to the program. However, your family may want to continue participating in the event your child wants to go on to further higher education programs. Otherwise, your family may withdraw from the program, and your CollegeBound Saver account will remain yours.

15. What happens if my child does not continue his or her education right after high school?

Your child has up to 10 years to enroll in a program (which will be extended if he or she is in the armed forces or in an approved non-profit endeavor). If your child has not enrolled in a college, trade school, or other educational program, or taken funds from Providence Promise by this time, then your participation will be ended and you will retain ownership of your 529 plan and its assets.

16. Is there a waiting period from the time my child stops his or her higher education program and the start of his or her payments?

Yes. Typically, if a student graduates in June, the student contributions will begin in January of the following year.

17. What if my child finishes a 2 or 4 year program and gets a job, and then decides to go back to school for another degree?

Your child’s contributions will be put on hold until that subsequent schooling period comes to an end.

18. If my child gets married, will his or her spouse’s income also be included in the amount my child has to pay?

The income will be calculated as the greater of your child’s income or the average of your child’s and his or her spouse’s incomes.

19. What happens if a parent passes away?

The surviving parent would then contribute the required percentage of his or her income.

20. What if both parents pass away?

Your child will remain eligible in the program.

21. What happens if the student passes away after receiving the "Gap Funding"?

         There will no longer be a responsibility to contribute back to Providence Promise.

22. What if parents become divorced or separated?

Both parents are responsible to contribute the required percentage of their annual gross income.

23. What if I go on disability?

Disability income is included in gross family income.

24. What if I receive public assistance?

Public assistance income is included in gross family income.

25. What if I default after my child completes his or her higher education program?

Your family and your child will be jointly liable for the defaulted contributions.

26. Can a child under 18 legally make a financial commitment? 

No. However, upon turning 18, the child will be required to sign an agreement with the program to remain eligible.

27. Can I accelerate payments to complete my obligations earlier?