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Montana Family Education Savings Program -- Investment Plan

Montana

Montana Family Education Savings Program -- Investment Plan switched program managers in December 2010 from Pacific Life Funds to Upromise Investments, Inc. which was acquired by Ascensus College Savings in 2013. The program is now direct-sold only, and features Vanguard funds as underlying investments. Accounts can be linked to the Upromise rewards service.

5-Cap Rating

Resident:
Non-Resident:

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
1.96 0.90 1.70 3.80 0.03

General

Program type:

Savings

How to enroll:

Enroll directly with the program.

Initial year of operation:

2002, but substantially changed in December 2010

State agency(ies):

Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education

Program manager:

College Savings Bank with administrative services by Ascensus College Savings, and with The Vanguard Group as investment manager

Program distributor:

Ascensus College Savings

Manager contract term:

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Eligibility

State residency requirements:

None

Who can be a participant/owner in the program?

U.S. citizens and resident aliens of legal age, UGMA/UTMA custodians, and legal entities. Joint ownership by spouses is permitted.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:

Qualified withdrawals from this plan within three years of establishing the account are subject to Montana tax at the highest Montana marginal rate to the extent of prior Montana tax deductions, but only after removal of non-deducted contributions.

Contributions

Maximum contributions:

Accepts contributions until all account balances in Montana's 529 plans for the same beneficiary reach $396,000.

Minimum contributions:

$25 or $15 through payroll deduction.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

None.

Static investment options:

Select among 5 Vanguard portfolios, LifeStrategy Growth, LifeStrategy Moderate Growth, LifeStrategy Conservative Growth, Total Stock Market Index and Total International Stock Index

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:

None.

Account maintenance fee:

$25 annually, waived for accounts with a Montana resident as beneficiary and for accounts with balances of $25,000 or more and for account with automatic bank deposits or by payroll deduction.

Program management fees:

0.67% - 0.77%

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Ranges from 0.05% to 0.21%

Total asset-based expense ratio:

0.82% - 0.89%

Taxes and other Benefits

Program match on contributions:

None.

State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

Contributions to Montana AND non-Montana 529 plans of up to $3,000 per year by an individual, and up to $6,000 per year by a married couple filing jointly, are deductible in computing Montana taxable income. Only contributions made by the account owner, the account owner's spouse, or the account owner's custodian/parent are deductible. Contribution deadline is December 31.

Value of in-state tax benefits:

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State tax recapture provisions:

The principal portion of rollovers, qualified withdrawals within three years of establishing the account, and nonqualified withdrawals from this plan are subject to Montana tax at the highest Montana marginal rate to the extent of prior Montana tax deductions, but only after removal of non-deducted contributions.

State tax treatment of qualified distributions:

Qualified distributions from Montana and non-Montana 529 plans are exempt.

State tax treatment of rollovers:

Montana follows tax-free treatment for rollovers into a Montana 529 plan. Montana tax treatment of rollovers out of a Montana 529 plan is unclear, as Montana law may require that the rollover be treated as a nonqualified withdrawal.

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

No

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

No

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?

Yes

Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?

Yes

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

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Contact

Web site:

Click here to visit

Telephone:

1-800-888-2723

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