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The West Virginia SMART529 Select 529 savings program is managed by Hartford Life and features age-based and static portfolio options utilizing Dimensional Fund Advisors mutual funds. Although DFA funds are typically available only through financial advisers, this 529 plan is direct-sold. Accounts can be linked to the Upromise rewards service.
Savingforcollege.com's 5-Cap Ratings provides an evaluation and comparison of 529 plans, utilizing a formula that examines dozens of factors grouped into the following categories. (Scale 0 to 5; 5 is highest)
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Did you know?
Residents are not limited to investing in their own state's plan. Another state may offer a plan that performs better and has lower fees. If there is no tax break offered for in-state investors ... shop around!
Also, the plan chosen does not affect which state the student enrolls in. An investor can live in NY, invest in a plan from NV and send a student to college in FL.
State Treasurer's Office under the authority of the West Virginia College Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program Board of Trustees
Hartford Life Insurance Company
Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC
Through June 30, 2017.
U.S. citizens and resident aliens at least 18 years old, UGMA/UTMA custodians, and legal entities.
Accepts contributions until all account balances in West Virginia's 529 plans for the same beneficiary reach $265,620.
With lump-sum contributions, the minimum initial contribution is $250 per fund ($50 per fund for West Virginia residents), and the minimum subsequent contribution is $25 per fund (no minimum for West Virginia residents). With the automatic investment plan, the minimum contribution level is $25 per month per fund ($15 per month per fund for West Virginia residents).
The Age-Based Portfolios option consists of 7 portfolios of underlying mutual funds with varying risk tolerances. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the beneficiary's age, and later reassigned to more conservative portfolios as the beneficiary approaches college age.
Select among 10 multi-fund portfolios with varying risk tolerances.
Dimensional Fund Advisors Inc.
Click here, you need Microsoft Excel to open this document.
Click here to visit, link to the program website containing most current performance data. Click on performance sheet.
Fees & Expenses
$25 annually, deducted at end of each year. Waived for accounts over $25,000, for WV residents, and for accounts in the automatic investment program.
0.47% management fee (includes 0.05% to the state).
Ranges from 0.17% to 0.30% (portfolio weighted average).
0.64% - 0.77%
Taxes and other Benefits
The SMART529 Bright Babies Program (effective 8/1/15) provides a one-time incentive contribution in the amount of $100 per designated beneficiary born or adopted on or after 1/1/15. The designated beneficiary must be a resident of West Virginia and the account must be opened within one year of the birth/adoption date.
The SMART529 Matching Grant Program (discontinued for new applications as of 8/31/15) provides matching grants to eligible West Virginia families in an amount up to $500 per designated beneficiary per year, up to a lifetime maximum of $2,500 per designated beneficiary, with a dollar for dollar match.
Contributions to West Virginia's 529 plans are fully deductible in computing West Virginia taxable income.
Investment time horizon:
18 yrs (i.e. newborn): 0.28% annualized
10 yrs (i.e. 8-yr old): 0.51% annualized
2 yrs (i.e. 16-yr old): 2.55% annualized
Based on 6.5% WV tax rate. (For assumptions see 529 State Tax Calculator.)
The principal portion of nonqualified withdrawals from this plan are included in West Virginia taxable income to the extent of prior West Virginia tax deductions. Rollovers apparently are not subject to recapture.
Qualified distributions from West Virginia and non-West Virginia 529 plans are exempt.
West Virginia follows federal tax-free treatment.
Does participation in the program provide beneficiaries with any advantages in qualifying for resident tuition status at state institutions?
Yes, with the Upromise rewards service.
Under West Virginia law, money in the West Virginia savings plan trust fund is exempt from creditor process and not subject to attachment, garnishment, or other process, and is not subject to seizure, taking, appropriation or application by any legal or equitable process or operation of law to pay any debt or liability of any account owner, beneficiary or successor in interest.
Distributions & Terminations
Eligible educational institution, beneficiary, or account owner, as directed by the account owner.
Accepts requests to transfer account ownership.
Documents, Access & Reporting
Yes, including subsequent contributions.
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