Paying for college is expensive, which is why it’s common for parents or other loved ones to help contribute to a child’s college tuition. One great way to help with education expenses is with a 529 college savings plan. These plans provide tax breaks on the federal and state level for investing in college expenses.
Plan rules will vary by state, but as long students use the funds for qualified educational expenses (QHEEs) — including tuition and mandatory fees — everyone who invests in a 529 college savings plan can make withdrawals without owing federal taxes.
Parents or someone other than the student can also own 529 plans, so the accounts won’t impact financial aid eligibility much. That’s because parents are expected to contribute just a small percentage of their financial accounts to school costs, while students are expected to use around 20% of their assets to pay for school.
This guide to the best 529 plans by state will help you find your ideal college savings match and make informed choices about investing for the future.
There are two types of 529 plans:
Both plans come with risks. Unless guaranteed by the state, prepaid tuition credits could lose value if the sponsoring institution has financial trouble, while investments in an education savings plan could perform poorly. However, state and federal tax breaks make both plans a good way for families to get a little help in saving for college costs.
How much would you like to invest?
When shopping around for the best 529 plans, it’s important to decide first whether you want a prepaid tuition plan or education savings plan. You’ll also need to find out which plans and benefits are available in your state.
You want your invested funds to go toward college costs, not high plan fees, so comparing expenses is important when considering which 529 college savings plan is right for you. Common fees include:
Finally, you’ll need to look at residency requirements and eligibility rules to make sure the plan you’re interested in is one you can open and invest in, while also receiving tax breaks for investing.
Best 529 college savings plans by state
|State||Plan Name||Minimum Contribution||State Tax Benefit|
|Alaska||The University of Alaska College Savings Plan||$25/month for automatic contribution plans; $250 for a one-time contribution plan||No|
|Arizona||Arizona Family College Savings Program||$15/month for automatic contribution plans; $50 for a one-time contribution||Yes|
|Arkansas||GIFT 529||$10/month for automatic contribution plans; $25 for a one-time contribution||Yes|
|California||ScholarShare 529||$15 per pay period for automatic contribution plans; $25 for a one-time contribution||No|
|Connecticut||Connecticut Higher Education Trust||$15 per pay period for automatic contribution plans; $25 for a one-time contribution||Yes|
|Delaware||Delaware College Investment Plan||None||Yes|
|District of Columbia||DC 529 College Savings Program||$25||Yes|
|Florida||Florida 529 Savings Plan||None||No|
|Hawaii||Hawaiis College Savings Program||$15||No|
|Idaho||Idaho College Savings Program||$25||Yes|
|Illinois||Bright Start College Savings Program||None||Yes|
|Indiana||CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings||$10||Yes|
|Iowa||College Savings Iowa 529||$25||Yes|
|Kansas||Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program||$25||Yes|
|Kentucky||Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust||$25||Yes|
|Louisiana||START Savings Program||$10||Yes|
|Maine||NextGen College Investing Plan||$25||No|
|Maryland||Maryland 529||$25/month for automatic contribution plans; $250 for a one-time contribution||Yes|
|Massachusetts||Massachusetts U Fund College Investing Plan||$50||Yes|
|Michigan||Michigan Education Savings Program||$25||Yes|
|Minnesota||Minnesota College Savings Plan||$25||Yes|
|Mississippi||Mississippi Affordable College Savings Program||$25||Yes|
|Missouri||MOST 529 College Savings Plan||None||Yes|
|Montana||Montana Family Education Savings Program||$15/month for automatic contribution plans; $25 for a one-time contribution||Yes|
|Nebraska||Nebraska Education Savings Trust Direct College Savings||None||Yes|
|Nevada||Nevada College Savings Plans||$15||No|
|New Hampshire||UNIQUE College Investing Plan||None||No|
|New Jersey||NJ BEST College Savings Plan||$25||No|
|New Mexico||The Education Plan||$25||Yes|
|New York||New Yorks 529 College Savings Program||None||Yes|
|North Carolina||College Foundation of North Carolina||$25||No|
|North Dakota||College SAVE||$25||Yes|
|Ohio||Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings||$25||Yes|
|Oklahoma||Oklahoma College Savings||$15/month for automatic contribution plans; $100 for a one-time contribution||Yes|
|Oregon||Oregon College Savings||$25||Yes|
|Rhode Island||CollegeBound Saver||None||Yes|
|South Carolina||Future Scholar||None||Yes|
|South Dakota||College Access 529||$50/month for automatic contribution plans; $250 for a one-time contribution from South Dakota residents; $1,000 for a one-time contribution from residents of other states||No|
|Texas||Texas College Savings Plan||$25||No|
|Vermont||Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan||$15/month for automatic contribution plans; $25 for a one-time contribution||Yes|
|Washington||DreamAhead College Investment Plan||$25||Yes|
|West Virginia||MART529 WV Direct College Savings||None||Yes|
|Wisconsin||Edvest College Savings plan||$25||Yes|
Best 529 prepaid tuition plans by state
Not all states have prepaid tuition plans. The following states offer prepaid tuition plans:
|State||Plan Name||State Tax Benefit|
|Florida||Florida Prepaid College||No|
|Michigan||Michigan Education Trust||Yes|
|Mississippi||Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program||Yes|
|Nevada||Nevada Prepaid Tuition Program||No|
|Texas||Texas Tuition Promise Fund||No|
|Washington||Washington Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET)||No|
Finding the best 529 plan is important to ensure the children you love can afford to attend college. By researching plans in your state and understanding the rules where you live, you can make the most informed choice about which 529 college savings plan is right for you.
The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.