Pennsylvania State Treasurer Joe Torsella announced that the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program Investment Plan (IP) has received, for the first time in its history, a Morningstar Bronze RatingTM in its review of Top 529 College Savings Plans for 2019. The ranking puts the Pennsylvania plan among an elite group of 30 “Best in Class” plans, less than half of all the plans rated by Morningstar.
“Pennsylvania families are working hard to save for their child’s future postsecondary education, using the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program. At Treasury, we’re doing everything we can to offer a robust and secure savings plan to help them do that. Receiving a Morningstar Bronze RatingTM for the PA 529 IP shows how far the plan has come, and also gives us more opportunities to improve the plan for Pennsylvania families. While we are proud of the fee reductions and other improvements Morningstar cited, Pennsylvanians should know this: we are just getting started, and we’re going to keep on improving.”
Pennsylvania Treasurer, Joe Torsella
529 plans are rated based on five key pillars: Process, People, Parents, Price, and Performance. According to Morningstar, the PA 529 IP received a Morningstar Bronze RatingTM based on improvements made to the plan under Treasurer Torsella since 2017, including age-based investment options, portfolio diversification, fee reductions, and overall better oversight of the plan. Morningstar also highlighted some of PA 529’s unique benefits, including a rewards program and the new Keystone Scholars program, which provides a $100 starter deposit to a PA 529 account for every born or adopted to a Pennsylvania family, starting in 2019.
The PA 529 IP offers account owners 17 investment options with varying risk to choose from through Vanguard. The PA 529 College and Career Savings Program also offers the Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP)—a lower-risk option allowing account holders to save for tomorrow’s tuition rates at today’s prices. IP investment returns are based on market performance, while GSP returns are based on tuition increases.
Pennsylvania families currently have $5.2 billion in assets invested in the IP and GSP plans combined, with $3.1 billion in the IP alone.
The PA 529 College and Career Savings Program has been helping Pennsylvania families save and pay for postsecondary expenses for more than 25 years. PA 529 account holders receive tax benefits including contributions that are deductible from PA state income taxes and account balances that are exempt from the state inheritance tax. Assets in a PA 529 do not count against families when determining state financial aid eligibility.