The Best College Savings Plan is Getting Better
(MONEY Magazine) – The cost of a college education may be rising scary fast, but the act of saving for it is finally getting cheaper. Competition has broken out among providers of 529s--the tax-advantaged plans for funding college costs--and that can only be good for you. Study this formula for finding an A+ plan.
• TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT YOUR STATE'S OPTIONS. Vanguard cut expenses on its Nevada 529 to as little as 0.5%. It also brought low-cost options to North Dakota and Pennsylvania. T. Rowe Price fees dipped in Alaska and Maryland. And Fidelity began offering index funds with expenses capped at 0.5% in Arizona, California, Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Earnings on any 529 investment are free of all income taxes if you use the money for education costs. And a portion of contributions to in-state plans may be state tax deductible for residents in 30 states plus the District of Columbia. If your home state is among them and you find an in-state plan with fees under 1%, grab it.
• CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION. If you're in one of the 20 other states, don't commit to a local plan until you've looked for one with lower fees elsewhere. (Compare at Savingforcollege .com.) One top deal: Utah's Educational Savings Plan offers great funds and expenses of 0.39% or less.
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