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iShares 529 Plan

Arkansas' iShares 529 Plan from BlackRock is comprised solely of iShares ETFs and offers 7 year-of-enrollment portfolios, 4 asset allocation options, and 17 individual portfolios. These 21 portfolios can be mixed and matched or used independently of one another to achieve the investment allocation desired. Accounts can be linked to the Upromise rewards service. To find a financial advisor in your area, use the Directory of Financial Professionals.

Our Ratingx

4 of 5

Fee Scorex

2.5 of 5


1 of 5

  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception2007 (December)
  • State agency
    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
  • Tax deduction
  • Program Manager
    Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, Inc.
  • Program distributor
    Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, Inc. and BlackRock Investments, LLC
  • Manager contract termUNLOCK PRO

Ratings & Rankings

Our overall rating for AR residents

This is a recent program and does not yet have a 5-Cap Rating assigned.

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.'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.

0.78of 5

Each plan's performance score is developed directly from'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.


State residency requirements:


Who can be a participant/owner in the program?

U.S. citizens and resident aliens 18 years old or older, UGMA/UTMA custodians, and legal entities.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:



Maximum contributions:

Accepts contributions until all account balances in Arkansas' 529 plans for the same beneficiary reach $366,000.

Minimum contributions:

With lump-sum contributions, the minimum initial contribution is $500, and the minimum subsequent contribution is $50. With the automatic investment plan, the minimum contribution level is $50 per month or $150 per quarter via bank transfer or $25 per pay period via payroll deduction. The minimum contribution drops to $25 for gift contributions made through the Plan's Ugift feature.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

The seven iShares Year-of-Enrollment Portfolios are based upon the designated beneficiary's anticipated year of enrollment, rather than the designated beneficiary's age. The asset allocation of the money invested in these investment options is automatically adjusted quarterly over time to become more conservative as the number of years to enrollment for the Designated Beneficiary decreases.View more age-based investment options

Static investment options:

The four iShares Asset Allocation Portfolios are designed to meet a specific risk profile and are offered in Aggressive, Moderate, Conservative and Fixed Income allocations. The asset allocation is reviewed at least annually and may be updated to take into account changes in risk and correlations of the asset classes and underlying investments. A dollar-cost averaging option provides for automatic monthly reallocations. The Custom iShares portfolio option offers seventeen individual portfolios investing in equity, real estate or fixed-income funds. A savings option invests in an FDIC-insured account.View more static investment options

Underlying investments:

iShares exchange traded funds (ETFs).View a full list of this plan's investment options

Underlying fund allocations:


Portfolio Fees & Performance Lookup


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Fees & Expenses

Enrollment or application fee:


Account maintenance fee:

$10 annually, waived for accounts with $20,000 or more.

Program management fees:

Year-to-Enrollment and Asset Allocation Portfolios:
0.40% manager fee (includes 0.05% state administration fee), plus 0.25% annual sales fee (Class A), 0.60% (Class L), or 0.00% (Class F).

Custom Portfolios:
0.35% manager fee (includes 0.05% state administration fee), plus 0.25% annual sales fee (Class A), 0.60% (Class L), or 0.00% (Class F).

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Ranges from 0.06% to 0.15% (portfolio weighted average) in the Year-to-Enrollment and Asset Allocation Portfolios, 0.03% to 0.49% in the Custom Portfolios, none for the Savings Portfolio.

Total asset-based expense ratio:

Class A: 0.35% - 1.09%
Class L: 0.35% - 1.44%
Class F: 0.35% - 0.84%

Broker loads and commissions:


Does breakpoint pricing include non-529 assets under rights of accumulation policies


Taxes and other Benefits

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


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

Program match on contributions:


State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

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, with a four-year carryforward of excess contributions. Contributions to a NON-Arkansas plan 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. Rollover contributions from another state's plan are deductible in the amount of $7,500 per individual and $15,000 per couple. Employers are allowed a $500 deduction per employee for 529 matches into Arkansas plans. Contribution deadline is December 31, and state must receive it by a specified date following December 31.

State tax recapture provisions:

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.

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:

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

State tax treatment of rollovers:

Arkansas follows federal tax-free treatment for rollovers except that outbound rollovers are subject to the recapture of prior state tax deductions. Rollover contributions from another state's plan are deductible in the amount of $7,500 per individual and $15,000 per couple.

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, 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:


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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