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CollegeCounts 529 Fund

The manager for the Alabama CollegeCounts 529 Fund direct-sold savings program changed from Van Kampen to Union Bank and Trust Company in August 2010. It features age-based, static and individual fund portfolio options using mutual funds from multiple fund firms.

Our Ratingx

4 of 5

Fee Scorex

4 of 5

Performancex

1 of 5

  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception2002, but substantially changed in August 2010.
  • State agency
    Board of Trustees of CollegeCounts 529 Fund, chaired by the State Treasurer
  • Tax deduction
    Tax deduction for single filers $5,000/yr
    Tax deduction for joint filers $10,000/yr
  • Program Manager
    UBT 529 Services, a division of Union Bank & Trust Company
  • Program distributor
    Union Bank
  • Manager contract termUNLOCK PRO

Ratings & Rankings

Our overall rating for AL residents

This is an excellent program with many benefits for the participant and positive investment attributes. If it has any significant weaknesses then it also has some particularly good things to recommend it.

Our overall rating for non-residents

This is an excellent program with many benefits for the participant and positive investment attributes. If it has any significant weaknesses then it also has some particularly good things to recommend it.

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.


2.35of 5

Each plan's performance score is developed directly from Savingforcollege.com's Quarterly 529 Performance Rankings. A 529 savings plan must have at least one year of performance history before they will be assigned a 5-cap rating. For those plans that are not part of our quarterly performance rankings, such as plans offering a single set of bank-based investment options, we assign a performance score by evaluating the returns currently available on similar types of investments outside of 529 plans.

Eligibility

State residency requirements:

None

Who can be a participant/owner in the program?

U.S. citizens and resident aliens at least 19 years old, UGMA/UTMA custodians, and legal entities organized in the U.S.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:

None

Did you know?

  • AL residents can claim a tax deduction for contributions to a AL 529 plan.

    Contributions are deductible in computing state taxable income

  • 529 plan contributions grow tax-free.

    Withdrawals are tax-free when used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

  • You can contribute as much as you want, as often as you want.

    The key is to get started. Enroll today by completing a quick form online.

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Contributions

Maximum contributions:

Accepts contributions until all account balances in Alabama 529 plans for the same beneficiary reach $475,000.

Minimum contributions:

No minimum.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

The Age-Based Portfolios option is offered in 3 different risk levels (Aggressive, Moderate, and Conservative) each containing 9 portfolios of underlying mutual funds. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the risk level selected and based on the age of the beneficiary, and later reassigned to more conservative portfolios as the beneficiary approaches college age.View more age-based investment options

Static investment options:

Select among 6 multi-fund Target portfolios and 25 Individual-fund portfolios.View more static investment options

Underlying investments:

Vanguard,T. Rowe Price, DFA, MainStay, PIMCO, Fidelity and Dodge & CoxView a full list of this plan's investment options

Underlying fund allocations:

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Portfolio Fees & Performance Lookup

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Fees & Expenses

Enrollment or application fee:

None.

Account maintenance fee:

None.

Program management fees:

0.25%

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Ranges from 0.04% to 0.07% (portfolio weighted average) in the age-based and static multi-fund portfolios, and 0.02% to 0.63% in the individual-fund portfolios.

Total asset-based expense ratio:

0.27% - 0.88%

Taxes and other Benefits

  • Tax deduction for single filers$5,000/yr
  • Tax deduction for joint filers$10,000/yr

Example

Married filing jointly residents contributing $100/month can expect an additional $0 a year in tax savings.

Program match on contributions:

None.

State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

Contributions, including rollover contributions, to an Alabama 529 plan of up to $5,000 per year by an individual, and up to $10,000 per year by married taxpayers filing jointly who each make their own contributions, are deductible in computing Alabama taxable income.

State tax recapture provisions:

A nonqualified withdrawal from an Alabama 529, plus 10 percent of the amount of the withdrawal, is included in Alabama taxable income to the extent of prior Alabama tax deductions. Outbound rollovers are also subject to recapture.

State definition of qualified expenses

The state conforms with the federal definition of qualified education expenses, which includes expenses for higher education, as well as up to $10,000 per year in tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.

State tax treatment of qualified distributions:

Alabama law exempts qualified distributions from an Alabama 529 plan but does not exempt distributions from a non-Alabama 529 plan.

State tax treatment of rollovers:

Inbound rollovers are not subject to Alabama tax. The full amount rolled over can be deducted subject to the $5,000 or $10,000 annual maximum. Outbound rollovers are treated as nonqualified withdrawals.

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, CollegeCounts 529 Rewards Visa Card, you can earn 1.529% on your everyday purchases.

The Upromise Rewards program can be linked to any 529 college savings plan. Upromise Rewards is free to join and offers members cash back for college.

Upromise Helps Families Save for College

Upromise Helps Families Save for College

Statutory protection of an account from creditors:

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Did you know?

  • Residents are not limited to investing in their own state's 529 plan.

    Another state may offer a plan that performs better and has lower fees.

  • The 529 plan chosen does not affect which state the student enrolls in.

    You can live in New York, open a plan from Nevada and send a student to college in Florida.

  • The best way to maximize your college savings?

    Start early and save often. You can get started today with easy online enrollment.

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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

Telephone:

1-866-529-2228

Start saving for your child's future today


Step 1

Click the blue Enroll Now button to the right

Step 2

Complete the online application and make your first deposit

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