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Ohio Tuition Trust Authority

09/11/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/12/2019 03:46

Ohio 529 Plan Has Big Reason to Celebrate College Savings Month

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Ohio's 529 Plan is always happy to celebrate September as College Savings Month. This September, we have even more reasons to do so.

Ohio's 529 Plan has topped three out of four of the long-term performance charts for Savingforcollege.com, a trusted college-savings industry resource. Savingforcollege.com provides unbiased research on 529 plans, financial aid, scholarships, and offers tools to help families estimate college expenses. Savingforcollege.com analyzes the performance of the nation's 529 plans on a quarterly basis and ranks them. Ohio's 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, has consistently received high marks for its long-term investment performance.

Ohio's 529 Plan rankings

49 states and the District of Columbia offer 529 plans. As of June 30, 2019, CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan ranks first in the nation for the best investment performance in three different categories: one-year, five-year, and ten-year. Ohio's 529 Plan was also ranked fifth nationwide for the best performance in the three-yearcategory.

Savingforcollege.com determines a 529 plan's performance score by comparing seven similar asset-allocation categories between all the nation's 529 plans, the historical performance of each selected portfolio category, and then averaging the score of all the groupings.

Savingforcollege.com consistently recognizes Ohio's Direct 529 Plan as one of the best plansin the nation for both Ohio residents and non-Ohio residents.

5-Cap Rankings

Savingforcollege.com uses a 5-Cap Ranking to the nation's college savings programs. A 5-Cap designation is dependent on criteria that shows the college savings plan 'offers outstanding flexibility, attractive investment, and additional economic benefits (such as generous state tax incentives) that for some people, at least, will provide a substantial boost to their savings. There are few, if any, weaknesses noted in the program.'

Ohio's Direct 529 Plan is the only 529 college savings plans nationwide to earn a 5-Cap rating for both residents and non-residents, as of Aug. 8, 2019. Ohio's Direct 529 Saving Plan has received this recognition multiple times for the plan's attractiveness for Ohioans and across the nation.

Ohio's 529 Plan is also one of only three 529 plans to receive 5-Cap ratings for both performance and fees from Savingforcollege.com.

Savingforcollege.com uses these five criteria in determining all of the 5-Cap rankings:

  1. Performance, which is taken directly from Savingforcollege.com's quarterly performance rankings;
  2. Costs of running a college-savings plan, which includes average asset-based expense ratios, administrator and managerial fees;
  3. Features such as a spectrum of age-based and risk-based portfolios as well as FDIC-insured options, participation in programs like Upromise and Ugift, and contribution restrictions;
  4. Reliability signals such as plan disclosure statements, the ease of making account changes, and the quality and experience of outside program managers; and
  5. Added upgrades for residents of plan's sponsoring state.

Ohio's 529 Plan tax advantages

Why save in Ohio's 529 Plan? CollegeAdvantage helps families across the nation save money for their children's future college, vocational, trade, or technical school costs with tax-advantaged benefits.

First, all contributions and earnings grow tax free in a 529 plan, so all investment growth is yours to use to cover college costs. Second, a 529 withdrawal is tax free when used to pay qualified higher education expenses- those costs that are mandatory to attend the federally accreditedschool or program. Third, a CollegeAdvantage account owner who is an Ohio resident can deduct their 529 contributions from their Ohio taxable income. The deduction is now $4,000 per year, per beneficiary, with unlimited carry forward. This means that $4,000 per year is not a contribution cap. If an Ohio taxpayer contributes $12,000 in one tax year, they will continue to subtract $4,000 per year, per beneficiary, from their State of Ohio taxable income until all the 529 contributions have been deducted.

Not Just For Four-Year Programs

529 plans can be used for whatever comes after high school, as higher education takes many forms. This list includes not just four-year universities and colleges, but also community colleges, trade and specialty schools, certificate programs, graduate school, law school, and med school.

Simply put, you can use the funds in your Ohio 529 Plan almost anywhere you are comfortable sending your child and your money. 529 plans can be used at any federally accredited educational institution, which is a post-secondary school that accepts federally financial aid. If you want to confirm that the schools your child is interested in attending - whether four-year, two-year, graduate, or vocational - accepts federal aid, then do a search to see if the institutions have a Federal School Code on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If the schools do, then you can use your 529 funds there.

Use Ohio's 529 Plan nationwide

While you may have saved in Ohio's 529 Plan, you can use your funds at both Ohio schools and schools nationwide. 529 plans can be used across the United States at any accredited post-secondary school that accepts federal financial aid.

Tools and calculators

Ohio's 529 Plan has calculators and toolsto shape the 529 plan to best fit your family's needs. Would you like to receive an estimate on your child's projected college costs and what monthly 529 plan contribution can help you reach a saving goal? Then use the college savings planner. The cost of waiting tool can approximate how much more money will need to be saved if you get a late start on saving for higher education costs. The tax benefit tool shows the long-term advantages of tax-free growth in a 529 plan compared to a taxable savings account. Answer the risk tolerance questionnaire to determine an investment strategy best suited to your comfort level with risk.

Visit Ohio's 529 Plan online to start saving today for your child's future education. An investment in a 529 plan is an investment in your child where every dollar saved today is a dollar that doesn't have to be borrowed later. Someday your child is going to college. Someday starts today with Ohio's 529 Plan.

Posted on September 11, 2019

Ohio Tuition Trust Authority