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Lock in current tuition rates by June 30th

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PRIVATE COLLEGE 529 PLAN

Prepay and lock in tuition at hundreds of colleges nationwide

For over 20 years, families have used Private College 529 Plan to lock in tuition and save for college tax-free. Prepay tuition now at the current rates and redeem at any participating college or university in the future. Our member colleges guarantee your prepaid tuition no matter how much costs increase.

What it means to lock in tuition

Contributions to your account purchase a percentage of tuition and fees at the current rate at each member college in the Plan — nearly 300 nationwide — which means you’re saving for all colleges in the Plan at the same time. The percentage of tuition you lock in at each college is guaranteed no matter how much tuition increases. The more you contribute, the more tuition you lock in and protect from rising rates.

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HOW THE PLAN WORKS

All contributions to your account during the Plan Year (July 1 – June 30) are aggregated into a single Tuition Certificate, which represents a percentage of that same year’s tuition and fees at each member college and university. The percentage each Certificate represents will vary since tuition rates differ at each college. You can prepay and lock in a percentage of one year or multiple years, it’s up to you.

When you contribute to your account over multiple Plan Years, you will own multiple Tuition Certificates, one for every Plan Year you contributed to your account. Tuition Certificates purchase tuition at the current year rates for that Plan Year.

Here’s how much $30,000 in contributions during one Plan Year could prepay at three different sample colleges.


College A

50%

$30,000 purchases 50%
of one year of tuition at College A
where annual tuition costs $60,000.


College B

60%

$30,000 purchases 60%
of one year of tuition at College B
where annual tuition costs $50,000.


College C

75%

$30,000 purchases 75%
of one year of tuition at College C
where annual tuition costs $40,000.


In 10 years: If College A’s tuition is now $90,000, College B is $80,000, and College C is $55,000, the Certificate value of the $30,000 is redeemable for the same locked-in percentage, now worth $45,000 at College A, $48,000 at College B, and $41,250 at College C.

When your child enrolls at a member college years down the road, the college will honor the percentage of tuition you locked in there, guaranteed.

You do not need to know which college your child will attend, and you have options if your child attends a college outside of our network. See more about this in our FAQs below.

GROWTH DOESN’T RELY ON THE MARKETS

As tuition increases, so does the value of your Tuition Certificates. Your Certificates are guaranteed to increase in value at the same rate as the cost of tuition and fees at each member college. Since the Plan began in 2003, the median tuition and fee increase across our member colleges has been 4.29% per year. If your Certificates purchase 50% of one year of tuition and fees at one college and 75% of one year at another, you will own those percentages of one year no matter how much tuition increases.

Enroll in the Plan today to lock in current tuition rates at 100s of colleges — and start saving.

Tax benefits

Like other 529 plans, contributions grow tax-deferred, and distributions are tax-free as long as the funds are used for qualified expenses. And thanks to recent legislation, 529 plans can now be used for private k-12 expenses, student loan repayment, and even to fund a Roth IRA.

There are no federal tax deductions for contributions to 529 plans, but if you live in a tax parity state, like Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio or Pennsylvania, contributions to any 529 plan, including Private College 529, may be eligible for your state’s tax credit or deduction. Get more information about tax benefits here.

MULTIPLE CONTRIBUTION OPTIONS

You can contribute to your account with one lump sum or make annual, quarterly or monthly contributions over multiple years. Accounts can be opened with as little as $25, but the more you contribute to your account, the larger the percentage of tuition you will lock in at each college. Since tuition rates typically increase each year, contribute as much as you can as early as you can to lock in lower rates. Tuition Certificates must be held for 36 months before they can be redeemed at a member college, another reason to save as much as you can as early as possible.

Already saving in a 529 plan? You can roll over funds from an existing 529 plan into Private College 529 Plan at any time.

Contribute one lump sum

In this example, a family opens an account for their 8-year-old child and contributes one lump sum of $50,000. Their contribution locks in 107% (or 1.07) years of tuition and fees at the average of our member colleges. Ten years later, they still own 1.07 years of tuition and fees but, with a projected tuition increase of 4% each year, the tuition value of their account is now worth $74,000 (with $24,000 in tax-free growth).

Note: This example uses the average across all member colleges for demonstration purposes. When you save with Private College 529 Plan, your Tuition Certificates purchase tuition at then-current rates for each college in the Plan (rather than the average).

Save over multiple years

In this second example, the same family opens an account, this time with $21,500 followed by monthly contributions of $250. Ten years later, the tuition value of their account is now worth over $67,000, enough to purchase nearly a year (.97) of tuition and fees for the projected average cost of our member colleges.

It’s important to note that since Tuition Certificates must be held for 36 months before they can be redeemed, the family would not be able to redeem any Tuition Certificates held for less than 36 months. Saving more in your account as early as possible will help to ensure your prepaid tuition is available when you need it.

Saving early pays off

In both scenarios, the family can enjoy considerable tax-free savings on the future cost of tuition. But, in the first example, they’ve locked in a better tuition rate early and therefore net over $7,000 more on the value of their prepaid tuition.

THE PLAN IN 90 SECONDS

Enroll in the Plan today to lock in current tuition rates — and start saving.

Calculate the costs

How far can your money go? Just plug in your numbers and see.

Run your numbers

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How does this plan compare to other 529 plans?

Private College 529 Plan is a prepaid tuition plan. Unlike traditional 529 savings or investment plans, growth in your account is tied to tuition and fee increases at each member college. Since Private College 529 Plan was first established 20 years ago, the median tuition and fee increase across all member colleges has been 4.29% per year.

Private College 529 Plan Tuition Certificates can be redeemed for tuition and fees at any member college. Some families also decide to save in a traditional 529 plan for other education expenses like food and housing. Saving in both types of plans allows you to cover more expenses while benefiting from a balanced investment portfolio.

Do I need to select a specific member college to save for?

No. You don’t need to know where your child is going to college when you open an account. Your Tuition Certificates can be redeemed at any current or future member college.

When my child enrolls at a member college, does the school charge me the tuition rate I locked in?

The college will bill the current tuition and fee rate it charges all students. When you redeem your prepaid tuition, the college will credit your account the amount of tuition you previously locked in. For example, if you locked in one full year of tuition at College A for $30,000 ten years ago, and tuition at College A is now $60,000 when you redeem the full year of tuition you prepaid, the college will credit $60,000 to the student’s account.

Is there a beneficiary age limit to participate?

No. There is no age limit for beneficiaries, but Tuition Certificates must be held for a minimum of 36 months before they can be redeemed at a member college. If you open an account for a high school senior, for instance, you could still use your prepaid tuition for the later years of college.

How do I check the value of my Tuition Certificates?

You can track your savings at up to 10 member colleges in your account. You can see how many years of tuition and fees your Certificates have locked in at each school and when they’re eligible for redemption. The schools you track can be changed any time. If you are saving for multiple children, the value of each account can be viewed when you log in.

I’m already saving in a 529 plan. Can I roll over all or some of those funds?

Absolutely. We accept rollovers from other 529 plans. While there are no tax implications for moving funds from one 529 plan to another, account owners are limited to one tax-free rollover in a 12-month period. This rule applies per beneficiary, not per plan. Read more about the rollover process in Plan Details.

What happens if my child doesn’t attend a member college?

You have options. You can change the beneficiary to another Qualified Alternative Beneficiary, such as the child’s sibling. Or, on a non-taxable basis, you can take a refund and either roll the funds into a state-sponsored 529 plan or use the money for other qualified education expenses. Alternatively, you could use the refund for any other purpose, subject to taxes and penalties.

If you take a refund, the value of the account is calculated as your total contributions adjusted for net investment returns subject to a maximum increase of 2 percent per year or a maximum loss of 2 percent per year, compounded annually. After July 1, 2024, the maximum loss on any refund will be 0%. You can take a refund in as little as 12 months, and as long as the funds are used for qualified expenses, the earnings are not subject to federal tax or penalties.

It works. My child has just begun her undergraduate studies at a member college that we could not have afforded without this plan. She’ll graduate debt free due to early and aggressive savings in this plan.

Private College 529 Plan account owner

OUR MEMBER COLLEGES

Nearly 300 unique possibilities and one that’s uniquely you.

Choose from hundreds of schools nationwide. City to rural campuses, large to small, liberal arts to science and engineering. Find it all here.

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MEMBER COLLEGE STATS

How our members stack up to all 4-year colleges in the U.S.

Lower student-faculty ratio
11:2 compared to the national average (14:1)

Higher median earnings 10 years after graduation
$57,329 compared to the national average ($49,142)

Higher 4-year graduation rate
60.7% compared to the national average (35.3%)

*Data from the College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, Nov 2022

PLAN
DETAILS

Learn the ins and outs of opening an account, redeeming tuition and more.

Enroll in the Plan today to lock in current tuition rates — and start saving.

DOCUMENTS

Access the disclosure statement, pricing guide and other business items.

529 GIFTING

Saving for college is an exercise for the whole family. See ways to include your loved ones.

Tax Advantages

From tax-deferred growth to deductions and credits, see what sets 529s apart.

Enroll in the Plan today to lock in current tuition rates — and start saving.