With students returning to school and media interest in 529 college savings plans renewed by the new pension bill, John Hancock College Savings has launched a seven-week campaign to promote its 529 plan, which it offers through Alaska.

The campaign includes educational tools and sales and direct mail ideas that financial advisers can use to explain 529 plans to parents, as well as a kit they can leave behind that includes a slide ruler showing the cost of college and estimated savings needed for children of various ages. Parents can view these figures as a lump-sum amount or in monthly or annual payments.

In keeping with the educational theme, the kit also contains pencils, erasers, a notepad and highlighter. Naturally, it also includes sales material on the John Hancock Freedom 529.

"We're very excited to kick off this year's main selling season with a whole campaign to make it easy and fun for financial professionals who sell our 529," said Diana Scott, senior vice president and general manager of John Hancock College Savings. "Not only is 'back-to-school' the perfect time for financial professionals to come back after summer, we now can help them communicate the positive news about the pension bill that it looks like federal tax-free distributions are here to stay and also about our recent addition of lifestyle funds to our 529 investment lineup."

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