There's a special savings provision in the 529 plan that allows for a child or grandchild to receive the maximum gift amount (tax exempt that is) of $14,000 from two people (parents or grandparents) for 5 years all up front. So assuming you or the grandparents have the funds, they can contribute up to $140,000 ($14,000 x 2 x 5 = $140,000) in one year to a 529 college savings plan!
Giving a child $140,000 for college education is a big head start in life. It's another way that the rich get richer. This isn't a tool for the rich though since there's actually a cap on the exemption. However, they use it because they have the ability. If you do this while the child is say 1 or 2. How much will it be worth when they're ready to go off to college?
Well assuming that you get a late start is they receive the money when they're 2 years old rather than 1. Also assuming a 7% return for the first 13 years and then switching to bonds with a 3% return for the final 4 years of high school. You'd want to do this to protect yourself from market volatility and not have to withdraw all of it when they need to pay for expenses.
With all of these assumptions you end up with a whopping $561,759 in untaxed dollars for college! SO WHO WANTS TO GO TO HARVARD??