529 College Savings Plans Online - dummies

By Matt Krantz

Some of the great things about 529 plans are that they’re easy to sign up for, you can fund them without worrying about tax laws for the most part, and the investments are pretty much preselected. The biggest decision you must make is whether you’ll opt for a plan offered by your state or go for one in another state.

Always evaluate and consider your own state’s 529 plan before looking elsewhere. If your state lets you deduct contributions to its 529 plan, this might be a compelling feature you won’t want to miss out on.

Here are the primary ways to research and find out about 529 plans:

  • College savings information sites: Savingforcollege.com is a supersite when it comes to all things about college savings. You can find tutorials galore that show you how to pick a plan, decide which state’s 529 plan is best for you, compare different 529 plans and fees, and even provide links to the plans so that you can sign up.

    The figure shows you some of the information you can dig out from Savingforcollege.com. College Savings Plans Network helps you sort through the various options for saving for college. FinAid.org primarily deals with financial aid, but it also has resources on savings plans.

    Savingforcollege.com is the place to go for learning about 529 and other college savings plans.
    Savingforcollege.com is the place to go for learning about 529 and other college savings plans.
  • The states’ 529 plan sites: Each 529 plan runs its own website that gives you all the details about how much you can contribute, what your investment options are, what the fees are, and other things you need to know. The best way to find links to states’ plans is through the Savingforcollege.com site, although Table 3-5 contains links to some plans.

  • Broker or mutual fund’s sites: Some states’ 529 plans are administered by large brokerage or mutual fund companies. In those cases, you can find out more about the plans directly from the administration companies. Vanguard, for instance, handles Nevada’s Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan and Iowa’s College Savings Iowa 529 plan. You can find out about both plans, and 529 plans in general, at Vanguard. Fidelity operates plans for Arizona, Delaware, and Massachusetts as well as offers a national plan.

Website Addresses for Some States’ 529 Plans
State Plan Name Web Address
California ScholarShare College Savings Plan www.scholarshare.com
Iowa College Savings Iowa www.collegesavingsiowa.com
New York New York’s 529 College Savings Program — Direct Plan www.nysaves.com
Ohio Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan www.collegeadvantage.com
Texas Texas College Savings Plan www.texascollegesavings.com
Utah Utah Educational Savings Plan www.uesp.org