In joining the state of Pennsylvania's 529 plan last week, Calvert Group has become the second fund complex to offer a socially responsible mutual fund through the college savings programs. But, while some say 529s are a good fit for the so-called SRI funds, the products are expected to attract few assets through the state programs.

"Basically, having a social choice option in a 529 plan is like a restaurant having a vegetarian choice on the menu," said Stephen Ludwig, a spokesman at TIAA-CREF, which was the first to offer a social fund through California's 529 plan. "It doesn't cater to everyone's tastes, but for those it does, it's really important."

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