|Question: What expenses and fees are generally associated with 529 plans?|
Many 529 plans pass along their costs of administration to account owners through fees and other expenses. These fees vary from state to state. Typical charges include an enrollment or application fee when you set up most prepaid tuition contracts. College savings plans charge account owners for fund expenses and investment management fees imposed by the program's investment manager, as well as other fees. Charges by the investment manager are in the form of a pre-set percentage of your account's accumulated value. Many college savings plans also impose a flat account maintenance fee unless you maintain a substantial balance or make automatic payments to your account.
You may also be charged a fee for changing your 529 account's beneficiary, owner, or payment schedule. Keep in mind, however, that the program administrator can waive fees, particularly if you're a resident of the state running the plan.
Make sure you have a full understanding of the fees that apply to a 529 plan you're considering. Such charges could have a significant impact on your account's return. But the plan with the lowest fees is not necessarily the best. Weigh fees and expenses with other factors, such as investment history, program flexibility, and state tax issues.
Note: Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses associated with 529 plans before investing. More information about 529 plans is available in each issuer's official statement, which should be read carefully before investing. Also, before investing, consider whether your state offers a 529 plan that provides residents with favorable state tax benefits.