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Scholars Choice College Savings Program

The Colorado Scholars Choice College Savings Program, a Legg Mason-managed 529 savings program is sold exclusively through advisors. It features a lineup of age-based, static multi-fund, and individual fund portfolio options utilizing funds managed by Legg Mason affiliates as well as non-proprietary Thornburg Investment Management and Franklin Templeton Investments. To find a financial advisor in your area, use the Directory of Financial Professionals.


  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception1999
  • State agency
    CollegeInvest, a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education
  • Tax deduction
    Tax deduction for single filers No limit
    Tax deduction for joint filers No limit
  • Program Manager
    QS Investors, LLC and Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC
  • Program distributor
    Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC
  • Manager contract termUNLOCK PRO

Ratings & Rankings

Our overall rating for CO 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.


2.35out of 5
top-ten

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. resident individuals, UGMA/UTMA custodians, legal entities.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:

None

Contributions

Maximum contributions:

Accepts contributions until all account balances in Colorado's 529 plans for the same beneficiary reach $400,000.

Minimum contributions:

The minimum initial contribution is $250, and the minimum subsequent contribution is $50. The minimum is waived for employer-sponsored arrangements. The $250 minimum initial contribution is also waived with the establishment of periodic automatic funds transfer of $50 or greater.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

The Age-Based and Years to Enrollment options contain up to 7 portfolios of underlying mutual funds. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the beneficiary's age, or number of years to expected enrollment, and later reassigned to more conservative portfolios as the beneficiary approaches college age.View more age-based investment options

Static investment options:

Select among 11 investment options: 5 individual fund portfolios and six static options. The static options consist of 5 multi-fund portfolios (Balanced 50/50, All Equity, All Fixed Income, Equity 80%, and Fixed Income 80%), and the Cash Reserve Option.View more static investment options

Underlying investments:

ClearBridge Investments, QS Investors, Brandywine Global, Royce & Associates, Western Asset, Franklin Templeton Investments, and Thornburg Investment ManagementView 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, but contributions may be subject to a sales charge depending on share class.

Account maintenance fee:

$20 annual fee, waived for account owners or beneficiaries who are Colorado or Wyoming residents (with account established prior to December 1, 2011 for Wyoming resident) and for accounts with at least $2,500.

Program management fees:

0.10% administrative fee (0.04% waived commencing September 1, 2011) to the state plus distribution/servicing fees of 0.25% (Class A), 0.95% (Class B), 0.75% (Class C), 0.00% (Class O); 1.09% combined fee for the Cash Reserve option includes underlying fund expenses.

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Ranges from 0.27% to 0.80% (portfolio weighted average) in the age-based and static multi-fund portfolios; 0.58% to 1.27% in the individual portfolios.

Total asset-based expense ratio:

Class A: 0.62% - 1.62%
Class B: 1.09% - 1.85%
Class C: 1.09% - 2.12%
Class O: 1.09%
Cash Reserve Option: 1.09%
Note: Expenses are 0.04% less due to temporary state fee waiver.

Broker loads and commissions:

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Breakpoint pricing:

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Taxes and other Benefits

  • Tax deduction for single filersNo limit
  • Tax deduction for joint filersNo limit

Example

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

Program match on contributions:

The Matching Grant Program provides a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $500 in contributions for lower- to middle-income Colorado residents to accounts with an eligible beneficiary (a dependent under age 13 at the time of initial application). Applications are accepted each year between September 1 and December 31. The match can extend for a maximum five years. Matching grants for future years are subject to continued funding by the sponsor. The CollegeInvest 529 Scholarship provides a $2,000 scholarship to any full-time student who is a Colorado resident, has maintained or has had a parent/guardian maintain a CollegeInvest account for at least two years, and can substantiate an expected family contribution (EFC) of $25,000 or less. The scholarship is renewable each year up to a total of four years or $8,000. Applications are accepted January 1 through July 31.

State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

Contributions to a Colorado 529 plan, to the extent of the contributor's Colorado taxable income, are deductible in computing Colorado taxable income. Rollover contributions are not eligible for the deduction.

State tax recapture provisions:

The principal portion of rollovers and nonqualified withdrawals from this plan are included in Colorado taxable income to the extent of prior Colorado tax deductions. Nonqualified withdrawals for this purpose do not include withdrawals made as the result of the beneficiary's death or disability or withdrawals made on account of the beneficiary's receipt of a scholarship.

State tax treatment of qualified distributions:

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

State tax treatment of rollovers:

Colorado follows federal tax-free treatment except that outbound rollovers are subject to the recapture of prior state tax deductions.

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, 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.

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?

No

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

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Contact

Website:

http://www.scholars-choice.com

Telephone:

1-888-572-4652

Telephone for broker use:

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