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GIFT College Investing Plan
The team of Ascensus College Savings and The Vanguard Group manages the Arkansas' GIFT College Investing Plan, featuring age-based and static portfolio options utilizing Vanguard mutual funds, and an FDIC-insured savings option. 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)
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.
Enroll directly with the program.
1999, but substantially changed in February 2005
The Arkansas 529 Plan Review Committee, composed of the Director of the Department of Higher Education, the Executive Director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, and the Arkansas State Treasurer
Ascensus College Savings
Ascensus College Savings
Through December 17, 2017.
U.S. citizens and resident aliens 18 years old or older, UGMA/UTMA custodians, and legal entities.
Accepts contributions until all account balances in Arkansas' 529 plans for the same beneficiary reach $366,000.
With lump-sum contributions, the minimum initial contribution is $25, and the minimum subsequent contribution is $10. With the automatic investment plan, the minimum contribution level is $10 per month or $30 per quarter via bank transfer or $5 per pay period via payroll deduction.
The Age-Based option is offered in 3 different risk levels (Aggressive, Moderate, and Conservative) each containing 4 or 5 portfolios of underlying mutual funds. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the risk level selected and the number of years to expected enrollment, and later reassigned to more conservative portfolios as the beneficiary approaches college age.
Select among 5 multi-fund portfolios with varying risk tolerances, a money-market portfolio, and an FDIC-insured savings option.
Vanguard mutual funds, Sallie Mae
Click here, you need Microsoft Excel to open this document.
Click here to visit, link to the program website containing most current performance data.
Fees & Expenses
$20 annually, waived for Arkansas residents.
0.50% manager fee; fee includes underlying fund expenses and a 0.07% fee to the state; 0.36% for the Savings Portfolio
Not applicable, included in the program management fee.
0.57%; 0.43% for the Savings option
Taxes and other Benefits
Beginning in 2008, the program provides matching grants of up to $500 annually to eligible Arkansas families, based on household income level. For adjusted household income of $30,000 or less, the matching rate is $2 for each $1 contributed. For income of $30,001 to $60,000, the matching rate is $1 for each $1 contributed. Limit one matching grant account per beneficiary. Applications for matching grants are accepted each year between January 1 and April 30.
Contributions to an Arkansas 529 plan of up to $5,000 per year by an individual, and up to $10,000 per year by a married couple filing jointly, are deductible in computing Arkansas taxable income. Contribution deadline is December 31, and state must receive it by a specified date following December 31.
Investment time horizon:
18 yrs (i.e. newborn): 0.30% annualized
10 yrs (i.e. 8-yr old): 0.54% annualized
2 yrs (i.e. 16-yr old): 2.75% annualized
Based on 7% AR tax rate. (For assumptions see 529 State Tax Calculator.)
The principal portion of rollovers and non-qualified withdrawals from this plan are included in Arkansas taxable income to the extent of prior Arkansas tax deductions.
Qualified distributions from Arkansas and non-Arkansas 529 plans are exempt.
Arkansas follows federal tax-free treatment for rollovers except that outbound rollovers are subject to the recapture of prior state tax deductions.
Does participation in the program provide beneficiaries with any advantages in qualifying for resident tuition status at state institutions?
Under Arkansas law, an account in the Arkansas 529 plan, or any legal or beneficial interest in an account, shall not be subject to attachment, levy, or execution by any creditor of an account owner or designated beneficiary.
Distributions & Terminations
Eligible educational institution, beneficiary, or account owner, as directed by the account owner.
Accepts requests to transfer account ownership.
Documents, Access & Reporting