June 7, 2024

Graduation Ideas for Your K-12 Graduate

Ideas for the Perfect Graduation Gifts from Parent to Child

High school graduation is a big day! It represents the transition from adolescence to adulthood and marks a great scholastic achievement for your child. Many parents want to get their children something special for this momentous occasion.

Graduation gift box next to a diploma surrounded by confetti.If you’re looking for a graduation gift your child is sure to love, read on. We’ve got great gift ideas, including a way to support your child’s future educational endeavors.


1. Tools for Success

If you know your child or another graduate who wants to continue their education, why not get them some useful supplies to make their educational endeavors easier? You can support them by giving practical graduation gifts:

  • Backpack, planner, notebook, binders and writing supplies – Arm your graduate with these timeless tools for success.
  • Laptop – A new laptop with enough processing power and RAM to ensure all school programs run smoothly is a generous and useful gift for a special graduate.
  • Headphones or earbuds – Students can listen to online tutorials and books or block out the world with their favorite tunes.
  • Subscription to a study aid website (such as Chegg) – Many sites provide experts to answer student questions. Some allow students to pair textbooks for step-by-step solutions and study tools.

Supplies like these are great graduation gift ideas because they show you care enough to take a logistical weight off the shoulders of your future student!


2. Personal Mementos

 High school graduation becomes an even more important rite of passage when kids are moving out of the nest and are off to new adventures. Personal mementos are touching gifts that remind your child where they came from as they look forward to new places, people, and experiences:

  • Printed photos – Have favorite digital photos printed and make duplicates of old photos. Frame them or create a photo memory board that will help decorate dorm walls.
  • Photobook – Use a website to create books from favorite photos. Your graduate can flip through the memories and share them with new friends. You can even include a gift card so your student can create a book with pictures of new friends and places.
  • Special letter – Write a special letter of encouragement and seal it in an envelope. Tell your graduate to open it at a later time when they want to read a special message from home.
  • Childhood trinket – Give your child a well-loved trinket from childhood to tuck away and look at whenever they want to remember the special home that prepared them to succeed in an unfamiliar environment with new and different people.


3. Creature Comforts

 Everyone wants to be comfortable, and it’s especially important if your graduate will be living away from home. A gift that provides relaxation also gives a sense of well-being and reassurance:

  • Loungewear – Give your graduate stylish loungewear that is perfect for late-night studying sessions.
  • Robe – A cozy robe goes from a luxury to a necessity in a dorm setting.
  • Athletic wear – A popular choice for young people everywhere, athletic wear can inspire your graduate to prioritize physical fitness.
  • Coffee maker – If your child loves a good cup of joe, a coffee maker will help satisfy their cravings and save them money, too.


4. Gift Cards

 Gift cards can help a student enjoy life off campus for a break from routines or just a fun outing. With a little research, you can learn about businesses located close to campus that your special graduate may enjoy. Then, purchase a gift card that will let them treat themselves – restaurant, massage, nail salon, shop or store, gas, or rideshare gift cards all make great choices.

Tuck the gift card into a card that features a heartfelt message. The gift card will be appreciated, and the message will be something many kids will cherish long after they graduate.


5. Education: Can You Gift a 529 Plan or Contribution?

 Sometimes, the best graduation gifts are those that keep on giving. In that sense, a contribution to a Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan just may be the best possible gift you can give to a high school graduate, especially if you know they want to pursue some form of higher education in the future (whether that’s college, a registered apprenticeship, or something else).

You can gift a 529 plan to a loved one in your family, such as a child or grandchild. All you have to do is open the 529 account and name them as a beneficiary. You'll be the owner of the account and watch over it until they're ready to receive distributions from the accumulated funds.

You can plan to do this well ahead of actually gifting the 529 plan, too! When your child is born, one of the smartest ways you can save for their educational future is to open a Future Scholar 529 account and begin tucking money away into the account. There’s no better gift you can give your child than peace of mind knowing they don’t have to worry about paying for school. 

You can also make a gift contribution to an existing 529 savings account, and your contribution may even be tax-deductible. For example, South Carolina residents who contribute to a Future Scholar 529 plan are able to deduct 100% of their contributions on their state tax returns. Perhaps your child’s grandparents already opened a 529 plan in their name. If so, you can make another contribution to that plan on your child’s graduation day.

Many parents love the idea of giving a 529 contribution because of its practical value. It’s similar to giving your child a gift card or cash, but you have the peace of mind of knowing the money will be used for something precious – school!

How Much Can You Contribute?

If you plan to gift money into a 529 account, you can contribute up to $90,000 as an individual or $180,000 as a married couple per beneficiary in a five-year timespan without incurring a federal gift tax.

For instance, imagine that you contributed $90,000 between the years of 2019 and 2023 into your child’s account. You won’t be able to contribute any more to that child’s account until 2025 without a federal gift tax kicking in. Still, your contribution is a substantial amount of money for any college scholar, apprentice, or trade school student!

When’s the Best Time to Gift a 529 Plan Contribution?

Right now!

A Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan is an investment account. Like other investment accounts, it has the potential to grow over time, so the sooner money is placed in a 529 account, the longer it has to fulfill that potential.

If your child’s high school graduation date is still years in the future, contributing to a 529 plan right now will make a special future graduation gift. However, if graduation is coming up quickly, don’t hesitate to make a 529 plan contribution anyway. The money can still be used for qualified educational expenses, and you and your beneficiary will reap the tax benefits available to 529 plan users.

Give the Gift of Education with Future Scholar

The gift of education is the most important gift of all. By starting or contributing to a 529 plan, you can show your support for your child’s dreams and ambitions, whatever they may be. Best of all, getting started is simple with Future Scholar. Visit futurescholar.com today to learn more, open a 529 account, or make a gift contribution to a child in your life!