“We want to help families approach saving for college in a positive way by providing the expertise and guidance they need to feel confident in their path forward. We’ll dispel the myths, worries and confusion that prevent families from exploring all the possibilities available." - Bob Cole, President & CEO
As an independent collective of nearly 300 private colleges and universities, our purpose now isn’t so different than when we began. We started as a group of private institutions dedicated to helping families with college affordability — what would become Private College 529 Plan in 2003.
Many families have already saved in our plan. But we know more are still limiting their options based on misconceptions about affordability. So, we expanded our reach to educate families on the realities of private college while supporting them on their journey of saving. Our plan is to help families see that private is affordable and possible — and to dispel any myths that stand in the way.
Sharing our expertise
As longtime higher education professionals, we know firsthand how costs and worries about affordability often lead families to limit their options. With our expert guidance, we’re helping families confidently plan their path and save to achieve their dreams.
We want to provide parents with clear direction from our experts and a unique savings solution that is open and available to everyone.
And we want people to feel inspired, informed and confident enough to start saving for college.
So families don’t feel limited when exploring their possibilities for college.
Until every family understands that private college is possible.
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.
Meet the team behind CollegeWell
Bob Cole | CEO & President
Bob is from the part of Maine that’s practically Canada. Seeking warmer temps, he headed to college outside Portland, ME. Over the past 25+ years, Bob has dedicated his career to college access and financing for families — with many of those years at American Student Assistance. He lives in Greater Boston with his wife and two kids. And he can tie one mean knot as an Eagle Scout.
Joanne Dashiell | Chief Marketing Officer
Joanne jumped into higher ed and student finances right after graduate school. She went on to promote early college planning and saving at several organizations. Before joining the CW team, Joanne was executive director at a consultancy firm. She shares an active household in central MA with her husband, two kids and their rescue pup, Blaze. He’s fond of potato chips.
Jonathan Sparling, AFC | Director of Strategic Partnerships
Jonathan started his career in a college financial aid office counseling prospective families. Since stepping off campus, he has worked in the development of financial education content and external partnerships. At home, two kids and a couch potato dog keep Jonathan and his wife busy. Fun fact: Jonathan won the 1996 Little League National Championship.
Amy Perry | Marketing Communications Manager
Amy has been writing for parent audiences for years. She’s helped by tapping into her everyday life — happily overrun by three kids. She’s pushed the envelope with the interrobang (?!), and she’ll take up arms for the Oxford comma. Amy and her family are from Boston but managed to hang onto their Rs. She’d love to be talked out of getting a dog.
Kimberly Woolridge | Director of Operations
From budgets to board meetings, Kimberly is Queen Bee — behind the scenes. For over 10 years, she’s been keeping internal processes running smoothly for CW. She likes to think of herself as the “Paper and Pencil Pusher with Personality.” And we totally agree! Kimberly has many loves in her life, including her husband, daughters and two delightful granddaughters.
Board of Directors 2022-2023
Chair of the Board
Vice Chair of the Board
Secretary and Treasurer
Duke University – Retired
Southern Methodist University
University of Southern California
Valparaiso University – Retired
University of Notre Dame
Carleton College – Retired
Smith College – Retired
University of Redlands – Retired