College Savings Plans Network
The College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) is a national non-profit association and source of information about Section 529 College Savings Plans and Prepaid Tuition Plans — popular, convenient and tax-advantaged ways to save for college.
Founded in 1991, CSPN is an affiliate of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) and brings together administrators of 529 savings and prepaid plans from across the country, as well as their private sector partners, to offer convenient tools and information to help families make informed decisions about saving for college.
CSPN collects data quarterly on assets in state-administered college savings programs, monitors federal activities and promotes legislation that will positively affect Section 529 Plans and identifies financial opportunities to help families save for higher education.
CSPN provides a valuable networking opportunity for state officials responsible for administering 529 plans to gather and share their unique innovations and experiences in an effort to significantly increase participation in Section 529 plans and in turn, help the youth of this nation attain education goals.
The Network hosts a website that provides comprehensive information about each 529 plan. The site includes a college cost calculator and a 529 plan comparison tool that helps families evaluate 529 plans based on criteria such as state tax benefits, fees, investment options and investment manager.
The College Savings Plans Network Executive Board is composed of state officials who have been elected by their peers to serve as the leadership team for the organization. Board members serve one- or two-year terms and are elected by the membership. The Board is composed of the following:
Michael Fitzgerald, Chair & Iowa State Treasurer
Betty Lochner, Vice Chair & Director, Washington Guaranteed Education Tuition
Mary Morris, Treasurer & Chief Executive Officer, Virginia529
Joan Marshall, Past Chair & Executive Director, College Savings Plans of Maryland
Young Boozer, Alabama State Treasurer
Jeff Coghan, Chair, CSPN Corporate Affiliate Committee & AVP – Hartford Mutual Funds
James DiUlio, Director, Wisconsin 529 College Savings Program
Ron Estes, Kansas State Treasurer
Lynn Fitch, Mississippi State Treasurer
Kathleen McGrath, Director, PA 529 College Savings Program
Paul Paeglis, Executive Director, Ohio Tuition Trust Authority
Rich Sattgast, South Dakota State Treasurer
Lynne Ward, Executive Director, Utah Educational Savings Plan
529 plan data is collected by CSPN on a quarterly basis and made available to states, policy makers, the media and the general public. In September 2012, CSPN released its mid-year 529 Report which found record-level growth for college savings plans.
Based on data collected by CSPN from all 529 plans in the country, including 106 savings and prepaid tuition programs, the mid-year 529 Report shows that for the first half of 2012, total investment by American families in 529 plans has reached a record level of $179.02 billion. In the first six months of 2012, total assets in 529 plans grew by $14.16 billion, nearly twice as much as the $7.43 billion increase in all of 2011.
The total number of 529 accounts continued to increase over an 18 month period, going from 10.16 million in December 2010 to 10.98 million as of June 30, 2012.
The average 529 account size continues to grow, reaching an all-time high of $16,298 as of June 30, 2012: a 6.2% increase over the past twelve months. Including growth from contributions and investment returns, total assets in 529 plans grew by 8.6% since December 31, 2011.
CSPN monitors federal legislative and regulatory activities and promotes legislation that will positively affect Section 529 college savings plans.
• Woodruff, Mandi (September 12, 2012) “People Are Finally Figuring Out The Simplest Way To Save For College” Business Insider
• Gobel, Reyna (September 5, 2012) “Get a 529 Plan Boost From Your State” U.S. News & World Report
• Block, Sandra (July 16, 2007) “Your Money: Know state taxes before joining a 529 plan” USA Today
• Gobel, Reyna (September 6, 2012) “3 Myths About Prepaid College Tuition Plans Debunked” U.S. News & World Report