Minnesota College Savings Plan

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How to choose your 529 plan

May 19, 2016

When it comes to choosing a 529 college savings plans, parents have a lot of options. While it’s great to have a lot of choices, it can also be a little overwhelming. Here are a few questions to consider when making your decision.


Does the plan offer tax benefits?
As a 529 plan, the Minnesota College Savings Plan offers state and federal tax benefits, which Minnesota residents who save with the plan may be eligible for:

  • Any account earnings may grow free from state and federal income taxes
  • State and federal tax-free withdrawals when used for qualified expenses

Learn more about the Minnesota College Savings Plan tax advantages on mnsaves.org.

What fees are associated with the plan?
Most 529 plans have some fees associated with them. However, the type and amount of fees are not always the same from one plan to the next. A 529 plan with low fees helps make saving for college more affordable for more families. Low-fee plans not only save your family money, they also keep more of the money you save going directly to your savings goal.

The Minnesota College Savings Plan was recently ranked the 5th lowest fee direct-sold 529 plan in the nation by Strategic Insight. Learn more about the ranking here.

Are there a variety of investment options?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to save. That’s good news since no two families are exactly the same. The number of years you have to save before your child reaches college, your personal risk tolerance, and family budget all play a role in how your family saves.

Look for a 529 program that offers a variety of investment options. That will help you find the plan that best matches your unique situation. The Minnesota College Savings Plan offers a variety of options including an age-based option, multi-fund options, single-fund options, and a guaranteed investment option.

How will the plan help me reach my savings goals?
Before you choose a plan, think about how you’ll use it. It’s a good idea to look at the tools available to help you manage your savings. For example, if you want to make your contributions and manage your account online, make sure the plan you are choosing has the option. Some other helpful features to look for include:

  • Gifting options – can friends and family contribute to the account?
  • Payroll deduction – can you contribute directly from your paycheck? What is the minimum amount required?
  • Tools and resources – how easy is it to get your questions answered?

Taking a little time to learn more about the 529 savings plan options available can ensure you’re making a decision you and your family can feel good about.

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