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529 College Savings Plans

Welcome to the world of 529 college savings plans - a smarter way to save for college while saving taxes. The new tax-free IRS 529 Code is becoming extremely popular for those looking to get the most for their investment dollars while gaining major tax breaks.

Both 529 plans and prepaid tuition plans, (authorized under Section 529 of the federal Internal Revenue Code), are established by individual states. Using these plans, you can make more contributions than any other tax-deferred savings program today.

Prepaid plans let parents lock in today's prices for tuition, room and board by paying these college expenses up front, either in a lump sum or in installments. On the other hand, savings plans let you make monthly or quarterly contributions to an account which the state invests on your behalf.

Both types of plans generally let anyone (a parent, grandparent, relative or friend) set up an account and make contributions, regardless of income. And most states set high ceilings on the amount you can put in -- as much as $200,000 or so in some states.

To view a comparative spreadsheet simply click on one of the links featured below:


529 Plan Overviews

529 Plan Overviews Description
529 Plan Comparative Overview Detailed spreadsheet providing comparative information on current state plans.
529 Plan Evaluator Interactive site that allows you to customize your comparative spreadsheet (like the one above) by inputting criteria that is important to you.
Frequently asked questions Answers to the ten most frequently asked questions about 529 savings plans from the editors of CNN and Money Magazine
U-Promise Program Online program for college savings. Just register your cards with Upromise, and they will track your spending with many of their participating companies. Then whenever you make a purchase at those companies, you'll get a percentage of your spending back into your Upromise Account - automatically. Your credit card info is protected with strict security precautions. Recommended!
College Savings Plan Q&A Answers to the more frequently asked questions about 529 savings plans from the College Savings Plan Network
Financial Aid Officer Advice Insights on how 529 plans might affect financial aid


529 Quick Facts & Benefits top of page
  1. Although contributions aren't tax-deductible, earnings grow tax-free until the money is withdrawn to pay for tuition or college expenses - and then it is only taxed at the student's typically tax rate.
  2. Unlike Education IRAs, annual contributions are not sharply limited. Maximum contributions can total as much as $235,000.
  3. They don't have a major impact on financial aid, in contrast to prepaid tuition plans.



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