Friends and family members of New York college-bound students can now make contributions to a student's 529 college savings plan, thanks to a change in New York State law that mirrors similar programs in other states.

With $8.3 billion in assets, New York's 529 plan has bragging rights to having the largest direct-sold channel with $7.1 billion across 500,000 accounts as of May 2008. Its companion advisor-sold plan channel has additional assets of $1.2 billion and 100,000 accounts. With combined assets, New York is overall the fourth largest college savings plan in the nation.

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