May 28, 2014

Celebrate National 529 College Savings Day!

With college tuition rates rising faster than inflation, saving for college can be daunting. Jump start the process with a Utah Educational Savings Account, an IRS-approved 529 plan.  “529 plans are a tax-advantaged savings to encourage individuals to begin to save for the future costs of higher education,” according to A 529 plan offers tax-free growth as long as the funds are used for qualified higher education expenses including tuition and fees, books, and room and board, as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time.
            Although part of the federal tax code, 529 plans are state run, and vary greatly from one state to another. Utah’s 529 plan is Gold-Rated by Morningstar (only three other states share that rating) as well as high ratings from other sources. Part of the reason, is the low expenses. On average, Utah’s 529 plan charges an ultra-low expense ratio; averaging just 0.24%. It’s easy to start a 529 plan. Simply go to, enter information about yourself (as account owner), the child you wish to start an account for, and how much you’d like to contribute. There is no minimum amount needed to start and it only takes about 10 minutes to get set up.
            Utah’s 529 plan offers great investment choices. The four age-based options gradually become more conservative as your child gets closer to entering college. You can also choose from 8 static (unchanging) options or you can customize your investments. 
Adults can save for their own education using 529 plans. In fact, you don’t have to live in the state of Utah to start an account with UESP! State residents enjoy tax benefits for their contributions. Grandparents, aunts and uncles can also start an account or contribute towards Junior’s college fund. When it comes to opening a 529 plan, you don’t have to be the parent or the legal guardian to open or contribute to the account.
            Another way to add to Junior’s account is with Utah’s Fast Forward Matching program. UESP will match you dollar for dollar (minimum $100 annual contribution) up to $400 annually. That means if you qualify, and put $320 into your child’s 529 plan, Utah will put an additional $320 into their account.* To qualify, the family’s income must be below 200% of the federal poverty level. See the table below for details:
Persons in Family or Household

(including parents)
Income Must Be Below
For each additional person, add
To take advantage of the Fast Forward program contributors must be the parent or guardian of a child under age 17. Check out UESP’s Fast Forward Matching program for more information.
Celebrate National 529 day (May 29th) by setting up a 529 plan for you or a loved one!
* Utah’s Fast Forward matching program for more details or call (800) 418-2551

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