As parents, grandparents and students we know college is coming and that we're somehow going to have to pay for it someday. Fortunately we have many options available to us including savings bonds, the stock market and 529 plans. Starting a 529 account now is always the best option, no matter how old you (or your child) is. While playing the stock market may yield higher returns on your investment, placing your money into a 529 plan allows it to grow in a tax free environment. One study even found that when the federal tax benefits were taken into consideration, 529 plans outperformed their benchmarks in every category.
Indiana has it's own state-operated 529 plan called CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan. It is important to note that your child does not have to go to a IN college or university in order to use this savings account. 529 plan funds can be used at any accredited college or university across the nation, including some K-12 private schools!
Indiana College Costs & Trends
Colleges and universities across the United States experienced increased operating costs of 2.5% in 2019. This most recent inflation figure was down slightly from the 2.9 percent increase in 2018 and 3.4 percent increase in 2017. These costs are forwarded directly to students in the form of higher tuition and living expenses. As these costs steadily rise every year, parents are looking for ways to help offset these future higher education costs.
These rising costs are hitting closer to home in Indiana as well. Indiana's higher education costs rose by 16.1% in just the last 10 years, ranking as the 45th highest state.
The table below shows the average one-year costs last year (2021) for different types of Indiana colleges and universities.
|Ownership||Degree||Schools||Public Out-of-State Tuition||Public In-State Tuition||Median Debt||Total Annual In-State Cost|
These costs rise every year. Rising tuition is a major driver in these increased higher education costs. Tuition at a 4-year university in IN rose 14% (ranked 35th worst in the US), while a 2-year or trade school increased their tuition by 20 percent.
529 Tax Benefits for Indiana Residents
Indiana offers tax benefits and deductions when savings are put into your child's 529 savings plan.
|For single filers:||20% on up to $5,000/yr|
|For joint filers:||20% on up to $5,000/yr|
Best 529 Plans in Indiana
Two of the three Indiana 529 college savings programs are managed by Ascensus College Savings: The CollegeChoice 529 Direct and the CollegeChoice Advisor. The newest Indiana 529 plan is the CollegeChoice CD, which offers FDIC-insured savings options.
|State Plan Name:||CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan|
|Maximum Contribution:||up tp $450,000 per beneficiary for total contributions to all state-sponsored 529 plans in Indiana|
|Fees:||Investment portfolios charge between 0.18% and 0.82% based on the amount you invested. There’s an annual account maintenance fee of $20 for non-residents, which is waived if your accounts total $25,000 or more.|
Indiana 529 Plan Statistics
There are 372,799 registered schools in Indiana with a total value of $4,910,253,423. That is an average of $13,171 per account. Unfortunately 529 plans are not widely used... a 2018 study by Edward Jones found that only 29 percent of Americans were even aware that 529 savings plans exist!