The state of Pennsylvania's pre-paid 529 college-savings plan, Pennsylvania Tuition Account Program Guaranteed Savings Plan, has received an investment-grade rating of A3 by Moody's Investors Service, and is now considered a low-credit risk, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The state first sought the rating, the first to do so in the nation, to ease concerns of the plan's financial health and help market it.

"I think it lends additional assurance to program participants and to anyone getting into the program," said Joe Hurley, the president and founder of Savingforcollege.com, a Web site that rates college savings plans.

In making its decision, Moody's considered the plan's assets, liabilities and the support the program has from elected officials, according to Marty Duffy, senior credit officer at Moody's. Moody's examination went past the classic "actuary's model and evaluated tens of thousands of possibilities, " Pennsylvanian officials said.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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