Conservative Allocation Option


Unit value as of  
Day change
Total annual asset-based fees  
Inception Date   8/18/2014

Investment Objective

This Investment Option seeks a conservative to moderate total return by investing in a funding agreement and mutual funds that invest primarily in debt securities and, to a lesser extent, by investing in mutual funds that invest primarily in equity securities.

Investment strategy

Each of these Investment Options invests in multiple mutual funds. In addition, the Conservative Allocation Option also invests in a funding agreement. (See Principal Plus Interest Option for a description of the funding agreement.)

To varying degrees, each Risk-Based Allocation Option invests in certain mutual funds that mainly invest in equity securities, including:

  • Domestic equity securities across all capitalization ranges;
  • Foreign equity securities across all capitalization ranges, including the securities of issuers located in developed countries and emerging-markets countries; and
  • Equity securities of issuers that are principally engaged in the real estate industry, including real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Also to varying degrees, each Risk-Based Allocation Option invests in certain mutual funds that mainly invest in debt securities, including:

  • A wide spectrum of public, investment-grade, taxable, fixed-income securities, including government, corporate, and international dollar-denominated bonds, as well as mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, all with maturities of more than one year;
  • Inflation-protected obligations issued by the U.S. Treasury with remaining maturities of less than five years; and
  • High-yielding, higher-risk corporate bonds and other fixed-income investments (commonly known as “junk bonds”) with medium- and lower-range credit quality ratings

Risk level

Conservative to Moderate


Learn more about how risk potential could affect your investment by completing our Risk Tolerance Questionnaire.

Historical performance

Average annual total returns as of 5/31/2024

Category Conservative Allocation Option Benchmark
Year to date 2.31% 2.62%
1 year 8.44% 9.49%
3 years 1.38% 1.83%
5 years 4.44% 4.68%
10 years
Since inception 3.97% 4.14%

Average annual total returns as of 3/31/2024

Category Conservative Allocation Option Benchmark
Year to date 2.17% 2.47%
1 year 8.14% 9.39%
3 years 2.17% 2.60%
5 years 4.41% 4.68%
10 years
Since inception 4.03% 4.20%

The performance data quoted represent past performance and are net of all fees and expenses. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Your returns and the principal value of your account will fluctuate, so your investment may be worth more or less than the original value when you withdraw your money. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted above. Investors cannot invest directly in a benchmark.

All performance figures in the table, with the exception of the performance figures in the year-to-date column, represent the average annual compound rate of the total return. All figures in the year-to-date column represent cumulative, nonannualized returns.

Asset allocation

  • 18.00% U.S. Equity
  • 9.00% International Equity
  • 3.00% Real Estate
  • 45.00% Fixed-Income
  • 25.00% Capital Preservation

Underlying funds

Ticker Underlying fund Allocation
TIEIX Nuveen Equity Index Fund 18.00%
TCIEX Nuveen International Equity Index Fund 7.20%
VEMIX Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index 1.80%
DFREX DFA Real Estate Securities Fund 3.00%
VBTIX Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund 31.50%
VTSPX Vanguard Short-Term Inflation-Protection Secuities Index Fund 9.00%
VWEAX Vanguard High-Yield Corporate Fund 4.50%
N/A TIAA-CREF Life Funding Agreement 25.00%

The above table lists the underlying investments in which this investment option invests and the percentage of the investment option’s assets allocated to each of its investments. Please keep in mind that if you invest in this investment option, you will own this investment option; you will not own shares in any of the above mutual funds. For more information on investment options, fees and expenses, including cost examples, please read the Plan Description.

529 Investment Lead

Jeremy Thiessen

Jeremy Thiessen

Head of Investment Strategies

To learn more about the Minnesota College Savings Plan, its investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses please see the Plan Description at Read it carefully. Investments in the Plan are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss.

Check with your home state to learn if it offers tax or other benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds or protection from creditors for investing in its own 529 plan.

The material contained on this website is not intended to be a recommendation or investment advice, does not constitute a solicitation to buy, sell or hold a security or investment strategy and is not provided in a fiduciary capacity. The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor or suggest any specific course of action. Investment decisions should be based on an investor’s objectives and circumstances.

TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Member FINRA, is the distributor and underwriter for the Minnesota College Savings Plan.