The 529 college savings plan has yet to catch America's attention the way many providers would have hoped. While it is still early in the product's lifespan, it has struggled with profitability issues, low awareness levels among average investors, and potentially crushing legislative barriers.

However, account sizes have been increasing as well as overall assets. Awareness is growing. And optimists have some positive developments to point to - including Charles S. Toth, chairman of the College Savings Foundation, a Washington-based organization representing 529 providers. Toth, who is also Merrill Lynch's director of retirement and education savings, recently spoke with Money Management Executive Associate Editor Chris Frankie about the future direction of the industry, its upcoming busy season and the College Savings Foundation's priorities.

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