CollegeWell

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Our story

It starts with the very foundation of who we are —

Hundreds of colleges and universities committed to affordability

Coming together

In 2003, a group of colleges and universities created a 529 plan to help families save on the future cost of tuition, what would be called Private College 529 Plan. Twenty years later, our purpose remains the same, and our membership has grown to include nearly 300 institutions — all uniquely their own, all committed to affordability.

For families, this means there are plenty of options in schools. Plus, every family’s prepaid tuition is guaranteed because our schools own the plan — something that sets us apart from any other 529 plan.

With attention from The Wall Street Journal, among other publications and websites, Private College 529 Plan is becoming a national name. See some of our recent coverage.

 

Paving a path

We know most families want to save for college but don’t know where to start, and far too many limit their options based on misconceptions about affordability. That’s why we decided to expand our reach with CollegeWell and support more families on their journey of saving.

With education at the heart of what we do, and experts leading the way, we’re helping families confidently plan their path and save to achieve their dreams. Our expert guidance includes seasoned financial planners, senior financial aid administrators at leading colleges nationwide, and other industry professionals.

Together, CollegeWell and Private College 529 Plan are delivering a comprehensive solution to families everywhere.

Our purpose
So families don’t feel limited when exploring their possibilities for college.

Our vision
Until every family understands that private college is possible.

Our mission
We’re changing the way families feel about and approach college savings. A clear path, expert guidance, genuine support and a plan to help you pursue the best higher education opportunities for your kids — in one convenient place. CollegeWell.

 

Timeline

1986
The first prepaid college savings vehicle is established.

1996
U.S. Congress enacts Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.

2001
U.S. Congress passes legislation making qualified distributions from 529 plans tax-exempt and permitting “colleges and their consortia” to sponsor prepaid tuition plans.

2003
Private College 529 Plan launches under the name Independent 529.

2003
BusinessWeek magazine names the plan one of its Best Products of 2003.

2003
The plan has 863 accounts and over $8 million in assets by the end of the year.

2006
The first Tuition Certificate is redeemed by a family at Baylor University in Texas.

2006
The plan has 257 participating colleges, 5,000 accounts and $106 million in assets by the end of the year.

2010
Independent 529 changes its name to Private College 529.

2017
Private College 529 Plan grows its number of participating colleges to 290.

2022
Private College 529 Plan introduces CollegeWell.com with expert guidance on saving and paying for college.

2023
Private College 529 celebrates 20 years and is featured in The Wall Street Journal. By July 1, the plan has over 7,500 accounts and $345 million in assets.

Board of Directors

Ed Kania
Chair of the Board
Rollins College

Kim Downs-Burns
Vice Chair of the Board
Middlebury College

Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings
Secretary and Treasurer
Oberlin College

Thomas Bear
Rose-Hulman Institute
of Technology

Rakesh Dahiya
Southern Methodist University

F. Robert Huth, Jr.
Stetson University – Retired

Jason Knoch
Princeton University

Ralph Kuncl
University of Redlands – Retired

Patricia Langer
Macalester College

John Latting
Emory University

Phil Levine
Wellesley College

Thomas McWhorter
Northeastern University

Mary Nucciarone
University of Notre Dame

Fred Rogers
Carleton College – Retired

Audrey Smith
Smith College – Retired

Ronne’ Patrick Turner
Washington University in St. Louis

Tim Warner
Stanford University

Lori White
DePauw University

Our 529 Plan

Protect against rising tuition

Lock in tuition at hundreds of colleges nationwide. Guaranteed prepaid tuition with no fees and no state residency requirements to save.