Oregon - Saving For College Report

We discuss the tax benefits, trends, do's and don'ts and various plan options of setting up a 529 college savings plan in Oregon

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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.

Oregon has it's own state-operated 529 plan called Oregon College Savings Plan. It is important to note that your child does not have to go to a OR 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!

Oregon 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 Oregon as well. Oregon's' higher education costs rose by 47.7% in just the last 10 years, ranking as the 13th highest state.

The table below shows the average one-year costs in 2020 for different types of OR colleges and universities.

OwnershipDegreeSchoolsPublic Out-of-State TuitionPublic In-State TuitionMedian DebtTotal Annual In-State Cost
Public 4 year 8 $26,933 $9,763 $21,150 $15,422
Public 2 year 17 $9,453 $4,780 $13,399 $8,804
Private 4 year 29 $32,725 $32,725 $23,409 $26,404
Private 2 year 32 $0 $0 $10,625 $12,342

These costs rise every year. Rising tuition is a major driver in these increased higher education costs. Tuition at a 4-year university in OR rose 26% (ranked 6th worst in the US), while a 2-year or trade school increased their tuition by 23 percent.

529 Tax Benefits for Oregon Residents

Oregon offers tax benefits and deductions when savings are put into your child's 529 savings plan.

For single filers:$2,435/yr
For joint filers:$4,865/yr

Best 529 Plans in Oregon

Sumday Administration, LLC manages Oregon’s direct-sold 529 college savings plan, which utilizes several different fund managers. The MFS 529 Savings Plan is an advisor-sold savings program and features a 529 share class of MFS mutual funds.

State Plan Name:Oregon College Savings Plan
Minimum Contribution:$25
Maximum Contribution:up to $310,000 across accounts per beneficiary; accounts that have reached the maximum balance limit may continue to accrue earnings.
Fees:$0 to 0.78% asset management fee, depending on your portfolio elections.

Oregon 529 Plan Statistics

There are 198,137 registered in Oregon with a total value of $3,622,196,094. That is an average of $18,281 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!

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