529 account balances rose 18% on average in 2010

The College Savings Plans Network (CSPN), a group representing the interests of member states and the 529 college-savings plans they administer, has revealed data collected from its members that show average account balances in 529 plans grew to $15,492 at the end of 2010, an 18 percent increase from the prior year average balance.

Total assets in all 529 plans were $157.4 billion at December 31, 2010, an increase of 18 percent from the $133.4 billion in assets one year earlier. Assets in 529 savings programs grew 19 percent from $116.2 billion to $138.2 billion, while assets in 529 prepaid programs grew 12 percent from $17.2 billion to $19.2 billion.

New contributions totaled more than $18 billion in 2010. More than half (54 percent) of 529 accounts received a contribution while 11 percent took a distribution.

As a proxy for investment return, CSPN calculated a 11.5 percent asset gain in 2010 after netting out contributions and distributions.
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