College SAVE

North Dakota

North Dakota's College SAVE, managed by Ascensus College Savings, offers 9 investment options: three age-based options and six individual portfolios managed by Vanguard. Accounts can be linked to the Upromise rewards service.

5-Cap Rating


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)

Performance Costs Features Reliability Resident Upgrade
2.79 0.47 3.50 3.80 0.60

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Program type:


How to enroll:

Enroll directly with the program. Enroll Now

Initial year of operation:

2001, but substantially changed in November 2006

State agency(ies):

Bank of North Dakota

Program manager:

Ascensus College Savings

Program distributor:

Ascensus College Savings

Manager contract term:

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State residency requirements:


Who can be a participant/owner in the program?

U.S. citizens and resident aliens at least 18 years old, UTMA/ UGMA custodians, trusts, state/local governments, and 501(c)(3) organizations.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:



Maximum contributions:

Accepts contributions until all account balances in North Dakota's 529 plan for the same beneficiary reach $269,000.

Minimum contributions:

The minimum initial contribution is $25 and the minimum subsequent contribution is $25.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

There are 3 age-based options (Conservative, Moderate, and Aggessive), each containing up to 5 investment portfolios. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the selected option and age of the beneficiary, and later reassigned to more conservative portfolios as the withdrawal date draws nearer.

Static investment options:

6 asset allocation portfolios are offered. The Aggressive Growth, Growth, Moderate Growth, and Conservative Growth portfolios invest in Vanguard stock and bond index funds. The Income Portfolio invests in a Vanguard bond index fund, inflation-protected securities fund, and a money market fund. The Money Market Portfolio invests 100% in the Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund.

Underlying investments:

Vanguard mutual funds.

Underlying fund allocations:

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Investment performance link:

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Portfolio Fees & Performance Lookup

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Fees & Expenses

Enrollment or application fee:


Account maintenance fee:

$20 annually, waived for North Dakota residents.

Program management fees:

0.85% manager fee; fee includes underlying fund expenses and the 0.10% fee to the state.

Expenses of the underlying investments:

N/A, included in the program management fee.

Total asset-based expense ratio:


Taxes and other Benefits

Program match on contributions:

The Matching Grant Program provides a one-time match of contributions up to $300 per beneficiary for North Dakota participants with incomes below $80,000 (single) or $120,000 (joint). Contributions within 12 months of the account opening are eligible for the match. The beneficiary must be 15 years of age or younger. For participants with incomes below $60,000 (single) or $80,000 (joint), the match is available for an additional two years. An additional matching program, Children FIRST, provides a North Dakota resident child 12 months or younger to be considered for a grant in the amount of $200. Children FIRST participants must enroll in CollegeSAVE and contribute $200 prior to the child's first birthday to qualify for the match.

State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

Contributions to the North Dakota 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 North Dakota taxable income. Contribution deadline is December 31.

Value of in-state tax benefits:

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State tax recapture provisions:

Apparently none.

State tax treatment of qualified distributions:

Qualified distributions from North Dakota and non-North Dakota 529 plans are exempt.

State tax treatment of rollovers:

North Dakota follows federal tax-free treatment.

Does the sponsoring state exclude the value of an account for state financial aid purposes?


Does participation in the program provide beneficiaries with any advantages in qualifying for resident tuition status at state institutions?


Does the program have a formal agreement with a rewards program or outside scholarship program?

Yes, with the Upromise rewards service.

Statutory protection of an account from creditors:

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Distributions & Terminations

To whom are distributions made payable:

Eligible educational institution, beneficiary, or account owner, as directed by the account owner.

Account Changes

Policy regarding participant/owner changes:

Accepts requests to transfer account ownership.

Documents, Access & Reporting

Does participant have online password-protected access to account?


Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?


Documents and other services accessible or downloadable on the program's public Web site:

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Web site:

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