Saving for college: A state-by-state guide to 529 plans

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Saving for college: A state-by-state guide to 529 plans

A 529 college savings plan is one of the best ways to prepare for the costs of a child’s education. Almost every state offers its own plan. Wyoming is the outlier, though it has adopted Colorado’s offering. That brings us to big must-know of 529 plans: You can open an account across state borders.

Why would you? Simply put, not all states offer tax breaks to residents who open and contribute to their 529 plan. If you live in one of the 16 states that doesn’t have an income tax benefit, you might want to opt for a plan with lower fees, more affordable minimum contributions, higher maximums, better investment options or a particular feature you desire.

What is a 529 plan?

529 plans are tax-advantaged savings plans designed to help pay educational expenses for a child, grandchild, niece, nephew, etc. Prior to the Tax Act of 2017, contributions could only go toward higher education, but participants can now use those funds — and the interest or earnings on them — to pay for private primary and secondary schools.

All 529 plans, including prepaid tuition plans, which let you buy future college credits at today’s rates, offer federal tax benefits. Earnings are tax-free as are withdrawals used for qualified educational expenses. Plus, up to $15,000 or $30,000 for married couples filing jointly in contributions are exempt for the gift-tax. Learn how to set up a 529 college savings plan.

You can’t deduct contributions to a 529 plan from your federal income tax returns, but 34 states, including the District of Columbia, offer a state income tax benefit. In most of these states, you have to enroll in the state-sponsored plan to receive the tax break. However, six states offer “tax parity”, meaning you can deduct contributions to any 529 plan. These states include:

  • Arizona
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Pennsylvania

529 plans are an important part of every family's financial protection plan, along with life insurance, emergency savings, retirement accounts and a comprehensive estate plan. Scroll down to find out the major terms, conditions and tax breaks associated with the 529 college savings and prepaid tuition plans offered in your state.

State-sponsored 529 college savings plans

Alabama

Plan name: CollegeCounts 529 Fund
Minimum contribution: No minimum contribution is required.
Maximum contribution: $400,000 in combined account balances for a single beneficiary; balances continue to accrue earnings once you hit that threshold.
Major plan fees: 0.25% asset management fee
State income tax benefit: Alabama taxpayers can deduct contributions up to $5,000 ($10,000 for married couples filing jointly) to their CollegeCounts 529 fund from their state income tax returns each year.

Alaska

Plan name: University of Alaska College Savings Plan, which, despite its name, can be used at any eligible institution in the country; The Education Trust of Alaska also offers two national plans: the John Hancock Freedom 529 Plan and the T. Rowe College Savings Plan.
Minimum contribution: For the University of Alaska College Savings Plan, participants must make an initial contribution of $250 with subsequent contributions subject to a $25 minimum. Alternately, you can set up automatic monthly contributions of $25. For the John Hancock Freedom 529 Plan, there’s a $1,000 minimum for initial lump-sum contributions with subsequent contributions subject to a $50 minimum. Alternately, you can open an account by setting up an automatic $50 per month payroll contribution. For the T. Rowe College Savings Plan, there’s a $250 minimum for initial contributions and a $50 minimum for subsequent contributions. Participants also have the option of setting up recurring contributions of $50 per month to meet the minimum account opening requirement.
Maximum contribution: up to $475,000 across all qualified education savings accounts for a single beneficiary; balances continue to accrue earnings.
Major plan fees: For the John Hancock plan, there is an annual $15 account maintenance fee, though there are a few simple ways to get waived, such as setting up automatic contributions. Asset management fees vary by portfolio. For the T. Rowe plan and the University of Alaska College Savings Plan, there’s a 0.05% annualized trust fee charged to each portfolio.
State income tax benefit: Not applicable. Alaska does not charge state income tax.

Arizona

Plan name: Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan
Minimum contribution: Participants can make an initial minimum deposit of $50 with a $25 minimum for subsequent deposits or set up automatic investments of $15 per month ($45 per quarter) to open an account.
Maximum contribution: up to $453,000 in total account balances per beneficiary; earnings continue to accrue on the balance.
Major plan fees: Investment fees run between 0.05% to 1.16%, depending on your strategy.
State income tax benefit: Arizona taxpayers can deduct up to $2,000 for single individuals and $4,000 for married couples filing jointly in contributions to any 529 plan each tax year.

Arkansas

Plan name: Arkansas 529 plan
Minimum contribution: There’s a $25 minimum for initial lump sum contributions or participants can set up automatic contributions of $10 per month or $30 per quarter. Subsequent contributions are subject to a $10 minimum per check or electronic funds transfer and a $5 minimum per paycheck via direct deposit. There is a $25 minimum for transfers from the Upromise rewards service.
Maximum contribution: Up to $366,000 in total account balances in a single beneficiary’s name; earnings continue to accrue.
Major plan fees: 0.39% to 0.53% asset management fee; non-residents pay a $20 annual account maintenance fee, unless the beneficiary lives in Arizona.
State income tax benefit: Arkansas taxpayers can deduct up to $5,000 ($10,000 for married couples filing jointly) in contributions to its state-sponsored 529 plan each tax year.

California

Plan name: ScholarSave 529
Minimum contribution: All initial and subsequent contributions must meet a $25 minimum, unless you are making automatic payroll deductions of $15.
Maximum contribution: Account balances cannot exceed $475,000 per designated beneficiary. Balances continue to accrue earnings.
Major plan fees: 0.03% asset management fee and a 0.05% board administrative fee
State income tax benefit: California offers no state income tax deduction for 529 plan contributions.

Colorado

Plan name: Colorado CollegeInvest; The plan comes in four different versions: Direct Portfolio, Scholars Choice, Smart Choice and Stable Value Plus.
Minimum contribution: $0 to $250 for initial contributions, depending on your plan; $0 to $25 for subsequent contributions, depending on your plan
Maximum contribution: up to $400,000 across all accounts for the same beneficiary
Major plan fees: 0% to 4% in annual account maintenance fees, depending on your plan
State income tax benefit: Colorado taxpayers can deduct every dollar they contribute to their CollegeInvest 529 plan on their state income tax return.

Connecticut

Plan name: Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET)
Minimum contribution: $25 per investment option; $15 per investment via payroll deduction
Maximum contribution: up to $300,000 across accounts for a single beneficiary
Major plan fees: There are no maintenance fees, but you will pay an asset management and administrative fee anywhere between 0.01% to 0.12%, depending on your elections.
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $5,000 for single filers ($10,000 for married couples filing jointly) in contributions to CHET each year.

District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)

Plan name: D.C. College Savings Plan
Minimum contribution: $25 for initial and subsequent contributions; $15 monthly minimum for anyone setting up direct payroll deposits
Maximum contribution: up to $500,000 across qualified accounts for a single beneficiary
Major plan fees: 0.25% asset management fee; 0.05% state administrative fee; $10 annual maintenance fee for D.C. residents; $15 annual maintenance fee for non-residents; The annual maintenance fee gets waived on accounts totaling $15,000 or more.
State income tax benefit: D.C. taxpayers can deduct up to $4,000 for individuals ($8,000 for married couples) in contributions to the state plan each tax year. Excess contributions can get carried forward and deducted in future years.

Delaware

Plan name: Delaware College Investment Plan
Minimum contribution: $50 minimum for initial contributions with $25 minimums for each subsequent contribution or you can make automatic $15 per month (or $45 per quarter) contributions.
Maximum contribution: up to $350,000 in account balances per beneficiary
Major plan fees: 0.05% to 1.16% asset management fee, depending on your investment plan
State income tax benefit: Delaware offers no state income tax deduction for 529 plan contributions.

Florida

Plan name: Florida 529 Savings Plan
Minimum contribution: No minimum contribution. If you choose the automatic investment plan, the minimum contribution level is $25 per month.
Maximum contribution: up to $418,000 across account per beneficiary.
Major plan fees: There’s an asset management/administration fee of up to 0.75% (annualized) of the account balance, depending on your elections.
State income tax benefit: Not applicable. Florida does not have a personal income tax.

Georgia

Plan name: Path2College 529 plan
Minimum contribution: $25 dollars per investment option or $15 dollars per pay period through payroll deduction.
Maximum contribution: up to $235,000 across accounts per beneficiary
Major plan fees: Asset management fees range from 0.06% to 0.08%.
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $2,000 for individuals ($4,000 for married couples filing jointly) in contributions per beneficiary to the state-sponsored plan each tax year.

Hawaii

Plan name: HI529
Minimum contribution: You can open our account with $15 and make additional contributions of $15 or more.
Maximum contribution: up to $305,000 across accounts per beneficiary
Major plan fees: There’s a 0.75% asset management fee, a $10 account maintenance fee for $10 for Hawaii residents and a $20 annual account maintenance fee for non-residents.
State income tax benefit: Hawaii offers no state income tax deduction for 529 plan contributions.

Idaho

Plan name: IDeal (Idaho College Savings Plan)
Minimum contribution: $15 per pay period via payroll deduction. Otherwise, $25 minimum contribution.
Maximum contribution: up to $500,000 across accounts for a single beneficiary
Major plan fees: 0.50% ($5.00 per $1,000 invested) asset-management fee or 0.34% if you opt for the savings portfolio; There’s also a $20 annual account maintenance fee for non-Idaho residents.
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $6,000 for individuals ($12,000 for married couples filing jointly) in contributions to IDeal each tax year.

Illinois

Plan name: Bright Start Illinois College Savings
Minimum contribution: None.
Maximum contribution: up to $450,000 per designated beneficiary; the balance continues to accrue earnings
Major plan fees: No maintenance fees, but the investment portfolio you choose will charge a fee against your investment of either 0.10% or 0.38%, depending on the fund.
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $10,000 per individual ($20,000 for married couples) filing jointly in contributions to their Bright Start accounts each tax year.

Indiana

Plan name: CollegeChoice 529
Minimum contribution: Minimum of $10 to open an account and a $10 minimum for additional contributions. The minimum is $25 if you make the contribution through Upromise, which manages the CollegeChoice 529 program.
Maximum contribution: up tp $450,000 per beneficiary for total contributions to all state-sponsored 529 plans in Indiana
Major plan fees: Investment portfolios charge between 0.18% and 0.82% based on the amount you invested. There’s an annual account maintenance fee of $20 for non-residents, which is waived if your accounts total $25,000 or more.
State income tax benefit: Indiana taxpayers are eligible for a state income tax credit of 20% of all contributions to CollegeChoice 529 plans, up to $1,000 per year. Contributions made via rollovers from another state’s tuition programs are not eligible for this tax credit.

Iowa

Plan name: College Savings Iowa 529 Plan
Minimum contribution: Minimum of $25 to open a 529 account and $25 for additional contributions. The minimum is $15 when you contribute as a payroll deduction via your employer if your employer offers this option.
Maximum contribution: up to $420,000 per designated beneficiary across accounts.
Major plan fees: $2.00 per year for every $1,000 you invest, or 0.20% per total invested assets.
State income tax benefit: If you’re an Iowa taxpayer, you can deduct up to $3,319 per beneficiary from your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Kansas

Plan name: Learning Quest
Minimum contribution: $25 initial contribution and $25 for additional contributions.
Maximum contribution: up to $402,000 per designated beneficiary.
Major plan fees: No annual account maintenance fee. However, there is a program management fee of 0.20% as well as fees for “underlying fund expenses” charged against portfolios for expenses incurred. Age-based index track investments have a different fee structure: an all-inclusive 0.25% fee against assets.
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduction up $3,000 for individuals ($6,000 per married couple filing jointly) in contributions to any 529 plan per beneficiary each year.

Kentucky

Plan name: Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust (KESPT)
Minimum contribution: $25 initial contribution per investment option and $25 for additional contributions. If you elect to contribute through a payroll deduction — ask your employer if they offer one — the minimum is $15 initial contribution per investment option and $15 for additional contributions.
Maximum contribution: up to $350,000 for all 529 accounts you have.
Major plan fees: Age-based investment funds have a total asset-based fee of 0.60% per year. Multiple-fund investment options range from 0.54% to 0.91% depending on the investment type.
State income tax benefit: Kentucky offers no state income tax deduction for 529 plan contributions.

Louisiana

Plan name: Student Tuition Assistance and Revenue Trust (START) Savings Program
Minimum contribution: $10 per designated beneficiary. Each year, Louisiana also matches deposits between 2% and 14%, depending on your adjusted gross income.
Maximum contribution: Equal to five times the qualified higher education expenses at the highest-cost institution in the state. Although Louisiana calculates this amount once per year, the most recent published dollar amount is $303,260 from 2013.
Major plan fees: No fees charged by Louisiana, but the fund you invest in will charge a fee based on its underlying expenses. As of March 2012, the most recent year for which the state has published information, the fees were between 0.045% and 0.40%, but they are subject to change at any time.
State income tax benefit: Individual taxpayers can deduct up to $2,400 of their 529 contributions from their Louisiana state taxable income. Married taxpayers filing jointly can deduct up to $4,800 of their contributions. In both cases, if the taxpayers do not use the full $2,400 or $4,800 deduction, they can rollover any unused deduction to future tax years.

Maine

Plan name: NextGen College Investing Plan
Minimum contribution: $25 to open the account or automated contributions of $25 per month through payroll deductions; Maine residents are eligible to receive a $200 Initial Matching Grant when opening an account with the $25 minimum.
Maximum contribution: up to $425,000 per beneficiary across accounts
Major plan fees: No enrollment or account maintenance fees; program management fees vary per portfolio, from 0.00% to 0.63%.
State income tax benefit: Maine offers no state income tax deduction for 529 plan contributions.

Maryland

Plan name: Maryland College Investment Plan
Minimum contribution: $250 to open the account or automatic contributions of $25 per month
Maximum contribution: up to $350,000 per beneficiary, across accounts
Major plan fees: No enrollment or account maintenance fees; 0.26% to 0.74% in asset-based fees, depending on your portfolio; 0.05% Trust Fee
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $2,500 for individuals ($5,000 for married couples filing jointly) in contributions per beneficiary each tax year.

Massachusetts

Plan name: U.Fund College Investing Plan
Minimum contribution: $25 to open the account and $25 for all future contributions; You can also make minimum automatic contributions of $15 per month or $45 per quarter.
Maximum contribution: up to $375,000 per beneficiary across accounts
Major plan fees: No enrollment or account maintenance fees; 0.09% to 0.35% program management fees, depending on portfolio options.
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $1,000 for individuals ($2,000 for married couples filing jointly) in contributions each tax year.

Michigan

Plan name: Michigan Education Savings Program
Minimum contribution: $25 or $15 per automatic deduction
Maximum contribution: $500,000 per beneficiary, across accounts
Major plan fees: No enrollment or account maintenance fees; 0.07% program management fees (0.02% manager fee plus 0.05% state fee)
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $5,000 for individuals ($10,000 for married couples filing jointly) in contributions each year.

Minnesota

Plan name: Minnesota College Savings Plan
Minimum contribution: $25 per investment option or $15 per automatic payroll deduction
Maximum contribution: up to $425,000 per beneficiary across accounts
Major plan fees: No enrollment or account maintenance fees; 0.1425% program management fees (0.14% manager fee plus 0.0025% state fee)
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $1,500 for individuals ($3,000 for married couples filing jointly) per beneficiary to any 529 plan each year or take a tax credit equal to 50% of contributions, reduced by withdrawals, up to $500.

Mississippi

Plan name: Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS)
Minimum contribution: $25 for initial and subsequent contributions; $15 per automatic payroll deduction
Maximum contribution: up to $235,000 per beneficiary, across accounts
Major plan fees: $20 annual statement fee unless you elect for electronic delivery; 0.6% manager fee
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $10,000 in contributions to MACS for individuals ($20,000 for married couples filing jointly) each year.

Missouri

Plan name: MOST 529
Minimum contribution: No minimums.
Maximum contribution: up to $325,000 per beneficiary, across accounts
Major plan fees: No enrollment or account fees; 0.15% to 0.23% program management fee
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $8,000 for individuals ($16,000 for married couples filing jointly) in contributions to any 529 plan each year.

Montana

Plan name: Achieve Montana
Minimum contribution: $25 initially, $15 through payroll deduction
Maximum contribution: up to $396,000 per beneficiary across all accounts
Major plan fees: 0.67% to 0.83% of assets, depending on investments; $25 annual account maintenance fee, waived for Montana residents or people who use an automatic investment plan, payroll deduction or have an account balance of at least $25,000.
State income tax benefit: Montana taxpayers can deduct contributions to any 529 plan from their gross income up to $3,000 per taxpayer or $6,000 for a married couple filing jointly.

Nebraska

Plan name: Nebraska Educational Savings Trust Direct Plan
Minimum contribution: None
Maximum contribution: up to $400,000 per beneficiary across accounts
Major plan fees: No application fee or annual account fee; 0.18% to 1.26% asset management fee, depending on your portfolio.
State income tax benefit: Nebraska taxpayers can deduct up to $10,000 for individuals and married couples filing jointly ($5,000 for married couples filing separately) in contributions to their state-sponsored 529 plan each year.

Nevada

Plan name: Nevada offers four 529 plans: the SSgA Upromise 529 Plan, the Vanguard 529 Plan, the USAA 529 Plan and the Putnam 529 for AmericaSM.
Minimum contribution: For SSga, $15. For Vanguard $3,000 initial deposit, or $1,000 for Nevada residents, or $50 through an employer automatic investment plan; $50 thereafter. For USAA, $50. For Putnam, there is no minimum.
Maximum contribution: up to $370,000 per beneficiary for all plans.
Major plan fees: 0.16% to 1.33% asset management fee, depending on your plan. For SSga, $20 annual account fee. For USAA, $10 annual fee for balances less than $1,000. For Putnam, $15 annual account fee, waived for Nevada residents.
State income tax benefit: Not applicable. Nevada has no state income tax.

New Hampshire

Plan name: New Hampshire offers two 529 plans: The Unique College Investing Plan and the Fidelity Advisor 529.
Minimum contribution: For Unique, $50 initially or $15 a month with automatic investments. For Fidelity, $50 per month with a systematic investment plan.
Maximum contribution: up to $500,000 per beneficiary across accounts
Major plan fees: For Fidelity, $20 account fee, waived if participant signs up for a systematic investment plan or maintains a balance of $25,000; 0.05% to 1.16% asset management fee, depending on plan.
State income tax benefit: Not applicable. New Hampshire has no state income tax.

New Jersey

Plan name: NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan
Minimum contribution: $25
Maximum contribution: up to $305,000 per beneficiary
Major plan fees: Program management fee of 0.1% of assets each year. $25 annual maintenance fee, waived for New Jersey residents.
State income tax benefit: New Jersey offers no state income tax deduction for 529 plan contributions.

New Mexico

Plan name: The Education Plan
Minimum contribution: $25 initial and subsequent minimums, waived if you start an automatic investment plan
Maximum contribution: up to $500,000 per beneficiary across accounts
Major plan fees: 0.15% to 0.51% asset management fee, depending on plan
State income tax benefit: Contributions are fully deductible from New Mexico state income tax up to the cost of attendance at a higher education institution.

New York

Plan name: NY 529 Direct Plan
Minimum contribution: None
Maximum contribution: up to $520,000 across accounts
Major plan fees: 0.15% of assets annually
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $5,000 for individuals ($10,000 for married couples filing jointly) in contributions to the state-sponsored plan each year.

North Carolina

Plan name: North Carolina's National College Savings Program
Minimum contribution: $25 for initial and subsequent contributions.
Maximum contribution: up to $450,000. In order to determine whether beneficiary can receive additional contributions, maximum projected expenses are compared to the market value of all accounts held in the trust fund for that beneficiary.
Major plan fees: 0.25% annual administrative fee, calculated based on the portion of an account's daily balance invested in the investment option(s) chosen and deducted directly from investor’s account.
State income tax benefit: North Carolina offers no state income tax deduction for 529 plan contributions.

North Dakota

Plan name: College SAVE
Minimum contribution: Minimum contribution is $25; You can set up recurring monthly payments of $25 ($75 per quarter).
Maximum contribution: There’s a maximum balance of $269,000 per account.
Major plan fees: Annual account maintenance fee of $20 waived if the beneficiary or participant is a North Dakota resident. Annual plans are subject to 0.55% fee.
State income tax benefit: North Dakotans can deduct up to $5,000 for individuals ($10,000 for married couples) of contributions to College SAVE from their state taxable income.

Ohio

Plan name: Ohio 529 College Advantage
Minimum contribution: Minimum contribution to an account is $25, unless the account is a Fifth Third Bank 529 Certificate of Deposit. CDs require a $500 minimum contribution.
Maximum contribution: up to $462,000 maximum contribution for a single beneficiary. Amount is adjusted annually to take into estimated future inflation and estimated account earnings.
Major plan fees: 0.18% to 0.55% asset management fee, depending on portfolio
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $4,000 in annual contributions per beneficiary each year with an unlimited rollover of annual contributions that exceed $4,000.

Oklahoma

Plan name: Oklahoma College Savings Plan
Minimum contribution: $100 to open an account. After that, $25 with a recurring fund transfer or $15 per pay period through payroll deduction
Maximum contribution: up to $300,000 across accounts per beneficiary; accounts continue to accrue earnings.
Major plan fees: $0 to 0.78% asset management fee, depending on your portfolio elections.
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $10,000 for individuals ($20,000 for a married couple filing jointly) in contributions to their state-sponsored plan each year. Any contribution in excess of this amount can be deducted over the following five tax years

Oregon

Plan name: Oregon College Savings Plan
Minimum contribution: Minimum amount is $25 per investment portfolio or $15 dollars per pay period through payroll deduction.
Maximum contribution: up to $310,000 across accounts per beneficiary; accounts that have reached the maximum balance limit may continue to accrue earnings.
Major plan fees: $0 to 0.78% asset management fee, depending on your portfolio elections.
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $2,375 for individuals ($4,750 for married couples filing jointly) in contributions to their state-sponsored plan per beneficiary each year. Amounts exceeding contribution deduction limits may roll over for up to four succeeding tax years.

Pennsylvania

Plan name: PA529
Minimum contribution: $15 for initial and subsequent contributions, including payroll deduction and automatic investing plans.
Maximum contribution: up to $511,758 per beneficiary across accounts. As market value increase, the account may continue to accrue earnings, but no additional contributions or transfers will be accepted.
Major plan fees: 0.2250% to 0.3250% asset management fee, depending on portfolio; 0.1350% operational support fee; $10 annual account maintenance fee, if you want paper statements;
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $15,000 for individuals in contributions to any 529 plan per beneficiary each year. Married couples filing jointly can deduct up to $30,000 per beneficiary each year, provided each spouse has a taxable income of at least $15,000.

Rhode Island

Plan name: CollegeBound Saver
Minimum contribution: None
Maximum contribution: Contributions are cut off once the total market value reaches $395,000. After that, the account will just continue accruing earnings.
Major plan fees: Fees vary from 0.04% to 0.85%, depending on which portfolio you choose and your residency status.
State income tax benefit: Rhode Island taxpayers are eligible for a tax deduction of up to $1,000 for married couples filing jointly and $500 for individual filers. Certain contributions made beyond annual limit can be deducted in future years.

South Carolina

Plan name: Future Scholar 529 Plan
Minimum contribution: None, unless it’s an e-gift, which has a $25 minimum.
Maximum contribution: Contributions are restricted by beneficiary, so you can contribute to multiple people, but the maximum to a single beneficiary, across all of their 529 accounts, cannot be more than $500,000.
Major plan fees: Vary by portfolio, but there are no account or program management fees
State income tax benefit: Contributions are tax-deductible, up to the maximum account balance per beneficiary, on a state level.

South Dakota

Plan name: CollegeAccess 529
Minimum contribution: The minimum initial contribution is $1,000 ($250 for South Dakota residents). If you contribute through an automatic investment plan, the minimum is $250 per portfolio with a required minimum monthly contribution of $50.
Maximum contribution: up to $350,000 per designated beneficiary
Major plan fees: There is a annual account maintenance fee of up to $20 payable of installments of $5 on the last business day of each calendar quarter. Beyond that, there are program management fees up to 0.25%; Servicing and administrative fees up to 0.35%; distribution fees up to 0.75%.
State income tax benefit: Not applicable. South Dakota has no state income tax.

Tennessee

Plan name: TNStars
Minimum contribution: $25 per investment option.
Maximum contribution: Account balances can’t exceed $350,000. After this, only account earnings can add to the balance.
Major plan fees: An annual asset-based fee of 0.35% except with First Tennessee Interest Bearing Accounts, which don’t have fees.
State income tax benefit: Not applicable. Tennessee has no state income tax.

Texas

Plan name: Texas College Savings Plan
Minimum contribution: $25 to open; $15 contributions are accepted after that
Maximum contribution: up to $370,000 across accounts per beneficiary
Major plan fees: Total fees range from 0.60% to 1.00%, depending on portfolios
State income tax benefit: Not applicable. Texas has no state income tax.

Utah

Plan name: my529
Minimum contribution: None
Maximum contribution: Account balances for the same beneficiary cannot exceed $446,000, which is the estimated maximum cost of four years of college and two years of graduate school. Note: This amount is reviewed yearly and may change to reflect higher tuitions.
Major plan fees: Starting August 1, 2018, administrative asset fees on age-based investment options is 0.14% (0.16% until that date) and fees for customized age-based and static investment options is 0.19% (0.19% until that date).
State income tax benefit: Any account holder (including a Utah trust) who is also a Utah taxpayer, may take a 5% Utah state income tax credit on contributions. There are varying limits on how much you can claim if the beneficiary is younger than 19 when the account was established.

Vermont

Plan name: Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan
Minimum contribution: $25 for automatic or one-time contributions; $15 per pay period for payroll deduction contributions
Maximum contribution: Contributions are cut off once the total balance of all accounts for the beneficiary reaches $352,800. The funds continue to accrue earning, though.
Major plan fees: 0.39% annual asset-based management fee; $10 per year for anyone who wants paper statements mailed to them.
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers who contribute to a VHEIP are eligible for a state income tax credit of 10% of the first $2,500 put into the fund ($250 per beneficiary). Married couples filing jointly can receive the same tax credit for the first $5,000 in contributions ($500 per beneficiary). Rollovers from other state 529 plans are eligible for the tax credit, but apply only to contributions, not any earnings and you must leave the funds in your VHEIP for the remainder of the tax year.

Virginia

Plan name: Virginia529
Minimum contribution: $25 to open an account; no minimum for future contributions
Maximum contribution: The value across Virginia529 accounts can’t exceed $500,000 per beneficiary.
Major plan fees: 0% to 0.67% asset management fee, depending on the type of account; 0.10% administrative fee; Virginia 529 may impose a $50 for paper applications, a $25 fee for account cancellation and a $25 fee for rollover or change of account owner.
State income tax benefit: Virginia taxpayers with a Virginia529 account can deduct up to $4,000 contributions per account each year. Unused deductions roll over to the following tax year.

Washington

529 college savings plan: DreamAhead College Investment Plan
Minimum contribution: $25 to open the account; $5 for all future contributions
Maximum contribution: Once your account hits a $500,000 balance, you can no longer contribute. However, the funds will continue to earn on its investments and you can resume contributions if your account falls below that $500,000 threshold.
Major plan fees: 0.276% and 0.400% annual asset-based management fee; $35 annual maintenance fee; $25 rollover/transfer fee; $10 annual statement delivery fee
State income tax benefit: Not applicable. Washington has no state income tax.

West Virginia

Plan name: Smart529 WV Direct; Smart529 Select; The Hartford Smart529
Minimum contribution: There are no minimum initial or future contributions for the Smart529 Direct plan, which is only available to West Virginia residents; State residents who open a Smart529 Select or The Hartford Smart529 plan must pay a $50 initial contribution with no minimum on future contributions. Non-residents who open a Smart529 Select or The Hartford Smart529 plan must make an initial contribution of $250 and meet a $25 minimum for future contributions.
Maximum contribution: $400,000 for all plan types
Major plan fees: The Smart529 Select and The Hartford Smart529 plans have a $25 annual maintenance fee. There’s a sales charge for The Hartford Smart529 as account holders work with a financial adviser to choose investments. This charge varies by investment options.
State income tax benefit: West Virginia residents can deduct the full amount of their annual contributions from their taxable state income each year.

Wisconsin

Plan name: Edvest College Savings Plan
Minimum contribution: $25 dollars per investment option or $15 dollars per pay period via payroll deductions
Maximum contribution: $472,000 per beneficiary, though contributions can continue to accrue earnings/interest
Major plan fees: 0.08% asset management fee; State administrative fees have been waived through October 29, 2020.
State income tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $3,200 in contributions per tax year per beneficiary ($1,600 for married filing separately and divorced parents) from their state income tax returns. Contributions over that amount can carry over year-to-year.

Wyoming

Wyoming does not offer a state-sponsored 529 college savings plan. Nor does it charge state income tax. The state adopted Colorado’s 529 plan as its own, but Wyoming residents can open an account in any state that lets them.

State-sponsored prepaid college tuition plans


Prepaid college tuition plans are designed to help parents avoid burgeoning college costs by purchasing credits for future students at close-to-today’s rates. They offer the same tax breaks as 529 college savings plan, but come with restrictions. Most plans are only good for tuition and fees. Plus, many states limit them to residents and, to get the most bang for your buck, the beneficiary (your child, relative or dependent) typically needs to attend a state school — if the plan covers out-of-state tuition at all.

Moreover, not all prepaid college tuition plans offer a full or even partial guarantee. That means, if a plan isn’t guaranteed and faces fiscal difficulty (as many have in recent years), it may not cover the future cost of tuition. Usually, a state ups its prices or closes the program to new participants, temporarily or permanently, before going belly up.

Currently, only eight states have prepaid college tuition plans accepting new investors. Pricing varies widely, depending on the current cost of tuition, the age of the beneficiary and the payment plan. Consult the program’s website to assess your options. States with prepaid tuition plans include:

Florida

Plan name: Florida Prepaid College Plan
State-guaranteed? Yes
Major fees: $50 application fee
Tax benefit: Not applicable. Florida does not have a state income tax.

Maryland

Plan name: Maryland Prepaid College Trust
State-guaranteed? Yes
Major fees: $75 paper application fee; $50 online application fee; $20 fee to purchase additional credits
Tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $2,500 of payments per account each year. Excess contributions per account can get deducted in future years.

Massachusetts

Plan name: U.Plan Prepaid Tuition Program
State-guaranteed? Yes
Major fees: None
Tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $1,000 for single filers ($2,000 for married couples filing jointly) in contributions each tax year.

Michigan

Plan name: Michigan Education Trust (MET)
State-guaranteed? No
Major fees: $100 transfer fee; $200 termination fee; $25 online application fee; $60 mail application fee
Tax benefit: Michigan allows taxpayers to deduct the total contributions made during a given tax year.

Mississippi

Plan name: Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Savings (MPACT) Program
State-guaranteed? Yes
Major fees: $60 application processing fee; $150 cancellation fee; $2 to $3 account maintenance fee
Tax benefit: Taxpayers can deduct up to $10,000 for single filers and $20,000 for married couples filing jointly in contributions each year.

Nevada

Plan name: Nevada Prepaid Tuition
State-guaranteed? No
Major fees: $100 application fee; $100 cancellation fee; 6.25% interest on monthly payment plan; $15 late payment fees
Tax benefit: Not applicable. Nevada does not have state income tax.

Texas

Plan name: Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan
Guaranteed? Yes
Major fees: $50 application fee; $25 cancellation fee; $3 account maintenance fee; $10 late payment fee
Tax benefit: Not applicable. Texas does not have state income tax.

Virginia

Plan name: Virginia Prepaid529
Guaranteed? Yes, to cover a funding shortfall, Virginia’s governor must appropriate funds in their annual budget.
Fees: $25 paper application fee; $25 cancellation fee; $25 fee to change your payment plan; late fees for missing lump-sum (1% of outstanding balance) or installment (lesser of $15 or 5% of the amount due) payments
Tax benefit: Virginia taxpayers can deduct up to $4,000 in contributions per account per year.

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Additional reporting provided by Patrick Howard, Colin Lalley, Myles Ma, Jon Marquez, Brooke Niemeyer, Logan Sachon and Zack Sigel.

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