States education savings ‘my529’ plan program is growing

Utah’s education savings plan called “my529” announced Tuesday that it has more than 400,000 accounts under its management. The accounts, with account owners and beneficiaries distributed throughout Utah and the United States, represent a growing number of families who choose to invest in the plan to save for education costs, according to a press release from the program.

The number of accounts at my529 has increased 8% since June 2018, when my529 managed more than 370,000 accounts, officials said.

The plan began helping people invest for education in 1996 as the Utah Educational Savings Plan. It took UESP 16 years to reach the milestone of 200,000 accounts in May 2012. In less than half that time, my529 doubled the amount, adding another 200,000 accounts by 2019.

Nationwide, the number of 529 accounts also trends upward. The total number of 529 accounts increased 2.3% from 13.3 million to 13.6 million during the first half of 2018, according to the College Savings Plans Network.

The Utah plan “provides flexible investment options for families saving for postsecondary education, including technical schools. The plan features low fees that are competitive in the 529 market place as well as federal and state tax advantages. Utah resident account owners can receive a state income tax credit on contributions,” officials said in the press release.

Lynne Ward, my529 executive director, said the plan “encourages families to start putting funds aside for higher education as soon as possible. Even saving small amounts regularly in a my529 account can defray the cost of a two-year college, four-year university, or technical school. Funds can also be used for K-12 tuition expenses up to $10,000 annually at public, private, and religious schools.”

Last October, investment research firm Morningstar Inc. bestowed its Analyst Rating of Gold on my529, saying that the plan’s “robust investments, low fees, and exceptional state oversight” served Utah residents and nonresidents well. The plan has earned the “gold” rating for eight consecutive years.

The my529 plan is Utah’s official nonprofit 529 educational savings plan. Its accounts are free to open, and my529 requires no minimum deposit or account balance. For more information, visit my529.org, call toll-free at 800.418.2551, or email [email protected].