RALEIGH, N.C., Sept. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Total assets held by participants in the North Carolina 529 college savings plan exceeded one billion dollars today.
North Carolina's National College Savings Program was launched in December, 2001 with $9.5 million in assets and 2,185 active accounts rolled over from the state's original single option 529 college savings plan. The current NC 529 Plan offers multiple investment options and, since inception, has grown steadily. Today, at $1,007,951,463, total assets reached the billion dollar mark for the first time. There are 106,452 active accounts in the savings program, 94 percent of which are owned by North Carolina residents.
As authorized by the General Assembly, the NC 529 Plan was established and is maintained by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority. The Authority's executive director, Steve Brooks, credits the steady growth of the program to "the tax deduction for N.C. taxpayers who contribute to the N.C. 529 Plan, the federal tax advantages of 529 plans, and the variety of low-cost investment options the Program makes available from Vanguard, the State Treasurer and State Employees Credit Union to appeal to conservative, moderate or aggressive investors."
Brooks continues, "In addition, more people recognize the importance and advantages of higher education, in terms of steady employment, increased earnings, and improved health, and family and community benefits over a lifetime."
Shera Hube, vice president for marketing and savings for College Foundation, Inc., which administers the NC 529 Plan on behalf of the Authority, encourages prospective participants to start saving for college early: "Starting an NC 529 account requires as little as a $25 investment and you can make regular or periodic contributions based on your financial situation and preferences. Whether the account is for your child, another relative or friend or yourself, money you save can be used for qualified higher education expenses at almost any college, in-state or out-of-state. "
Hube continues, "Of course, the fact that annual contributions to the N.C 529 Plan of up to $2,500 for individuals ($5,000 for joint filers) are deductible from your state tax income taxes is a real plus. This tax benefit is available not just to the account owner who pays N.C. taxes, but to any N.C. taxpayer, such as grandparents or others who choose to make a NC 529 contribution as a holiday or birthday gift for a future college student."
For more information on North Carolina's National College Savings Program, call 800-600-3453 toll-free or visit www.CFNC.org/NC529.
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For more information about North Carolina's National College Savings Program, please review the complete Program Description and Enrollment Agreement available at CFNC.org/NC529 or contact 800-600-3453 to request an enrollment kit that includes both. Before opening an Account, or contributing funds to an existing Account, you should carefully read and consider the Program Description, which includes information on investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information.
North Carolina's National College Savings Program is a program of the State of North Carolina, established and maintained by the State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) as a qualified tuition program under federal tax law, and administered by College Foundation, Inc. (CFI). Check with your home state about tax or other benefits associated with investing in its own qualified tuition plan.
The features of a qualified tuition program are complex and involve significant tax issues. The earnings portion of withdrawals not used for qualified higher education expenses are subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax, as well as state and local income taxes. The availability of tax benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.
Accounts themselves are not bank or credit union deposits and are not insured by the FDIC or NCUA. Neither the Contributions nor the earnings thereon invested in or allocated to Program Accounts are backed by the full faith and credit of the State of North Carolina or guaranteed by the Authority, CFI, SECU or Vanguard. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Contributions and interest earned thereon allocated to the Federally-Insured Deposit Account Investment Option are guaranteed by SECU and insured by NCUA, which is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government. The value of a Participant's Account will fluctuate depending on market conditions and the performance of the Investment Options selected. You could lose money by investing in the Program. Participants assume all responsibility for federal and state tax consequences.
SOURCE College Foundation, Inc.