South Dakota - 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 South Dakota

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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.

South Dakota has it's own state-operated 529 plan called College Access 529. It is important to note that your child does not have to go to a SD 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!

South Dakota 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 South Dakota as well. South Dakota's' higher education costs rose by 34.5% in just the last 10 years, ranking as the 27th highest state.

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

OwnershipDegreeSchoolsPublic Out-of-State TuitionPublic In-State TuitionMedian DebtTotal Annual In-State Cost
Public 4 year 7 $10,837 $8,047 $24,971 $15,620
Public 2 year 5 $5,947 $5,947 $12,000 $12,351
Private 4 year 10 $20,783 $20,783 $25,450 $17,290
Private 2 year 6 $0 $0 $8,638 $10,120

These costs rise every year. Rising tuition is a major driver in these increased higher education costs. Tuition at a 4-year university in SD rose 17% (ranked 24th worst in the US), while a 2-year or trade school increased their tuition by 23 percent.

529 Tax Benefits for South Dakota Residents

Unfortunately South Dakota does not offer any tax benefits for socking away funds in a 529 account for your child. Thankfully, SD residents can open an account in any other state that lets them.

Best 529 Plans in South Dakota

The South Dakota College Access 529 savings programs are managed by Allianz Global Investors and feature age-based and static options using mutual funds from a variety of fund families. The advisor-sold 529 plan is sold nationally while a direct-sold plan with fewer investment choices is available only to South Dakota residents.

State Plan Name:College Access 529
Minimum Contribution:$250
Maximum Contribution:up to $350,000 per designated beneficiary
Fees:There is a annual account maintenance fee of up to $20 payable of installments of $5 on the last business day of each calendar quarter. Beyond that, there are program management fees up to 0.25%; Servicing and administrative fees up to 0.35%; distribution fees up to 0.75%

South Dakota 529 Plan Statistics

There are 29,007 registered in South Dakota with a total value of $1,024,420,045. That is an average of $35,316 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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