Employees who want private college educations for their children now have a college savings vehicle, too. Launched by the Tuition Plan Consortium, an Albuquerque, N.M.-based not-for-profit group and administered by TIAA-CREF, the Independent 529 Plan allows participants to put savings toward tuition at private colleges. Similar to traditional 529 plans that apply to public institutions, the plan locks in current tuition costs and remains fixed despite tuition increases. Parents can open an account for as little as $25, provided contributions reach at least $500 within two years. Contributions are capped at $11,000 annually, and the maximum lifetime contribution is equal to five years tuition at the most expensive institution in the plan. When parents enroll, they select a list of favorite schools, and quarterly statements will reflect how much tuition their contributions have made toward each favored school. As 221 universities, including Princeton, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, are already signed on to participate in the plan, it will likely be attractive to employees and employers looking to expand college savings options for workers. College savings plans are notably inexpensive for employers to administer, making them an easy, yet valued benefit to offer. Doug Brown, TPC president and CEO said the Independent plan is just as easy for employees to use.
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