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DC College Savings Plan

The DC College Savings Plan is managed by Ascensus College Savings. Ascensus succeeded Calvert Investments as program manager in March 2017. The plan features a menu of age-based and static portfolio options utilizing investments from BlackRock, Vanguard, Loomis Sayles, JP Morgan, Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA), Schwab, and Ameritas Life. The program was formerly sold nationally through financial advisors and on a load-waived basis to District of Columbia residents. The plan is now sold nationally on a direct-sold basis only.

Our Ratingx

4.0 of 5

Fee Scorex

4 of 5


5 of 5
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  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception2002, changed substantially in 2017
  • State agency
    District of Columbia College Savings Program Trust
  • Tax deduction
  • Program Manager
    Ascensus College Savings
  • Program distributor
    Ascensus College Savings
  • Manager contract termUNLOCK PRO

Ratings & Rankings

Our overall rating for DC 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 a recent program and does not yet have a 5-Cap Rating assigned.'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.

5.00of 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 of legal age, UGMA/UTMA custodians, and legal entities.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:


Did you know?

  • DC residents can claim a tax deduction for contributions to a DC 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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Maximum contributions:

Accepts contributions until all account balances in the District of Columbia's 529 plan for the same beneficiary reach $500,000.

Minimum contributions:

With lump-sum contributions, the minimum initial contribution is $25, and the minimum subsequent contribution is $25. With the automatic investment plan, the minimum contribution level is $15 per pay period via payroll deduction.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

The Year of College Enrollment Option contains 7 portfolios of underlying funds. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the beneficiary's anticipated year of enrollment or as selected by the account owner. Year of Enrollment Portfolios evolve from a heavier weight in equities in earlier years to a more conservative investment in fixed income instruments and other investments that seek capital preservation as the beneficiary approaches college.View more age-based investment options

Static investment options:

Select among 8 individual-fund portfolios each of which invests in a single underlying mutual fund or ETF and the Principal Protected Portfolio Option. The Principal Protected Portfolio consists of a funding agreement with Ameritas Life Insurance Company which guarantees principal return of principal and an annualized minimum rate of return of one percent (1.00%), minus any premium tax, if applicable.View more static investment options

Underlying investments:

BlackRock, Vanguard, Loomis Sayles, JP Morgan, Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA), Schwab, and Ameritas Life.View a full list of this plan's investment options

Underlying fund allocations:


Portfolio Fees & Performance Lookup


Fees & Expenses

Enrollment or application fee:


Account maintenance fee:

$15, reduced to $10 for DC residents, waived for accounts with a balance of $15,000 or more.

Program management fees:

0.30% management fee (0.15% for Principal Protected Portfolio), including 0.05% administrative fee to D.C.

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Ranges from 0.01% to 0.05% (portfolio weighted average) in the age-based portfolios, 0.03% to 0.44% in the individual-fund portfolios. None for the Principal Protected Portfolio.

Total asset-based expense ratio:

0.31% - 0.74%
Principal Protected Portfolio: 0.15%

Taxes and other Benefits

  • Tax deduction for single filers$4,000/yr
  • Tax deduction for joint filers$8,000/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 the DC College Savings Plan of up to $4,000 per year by an individual, and up to $8,000 per year by married taxpayers who each make contributions to their own account, are deductible in computing District of Columbia taxable income, with a five-year carryforward of excess contributions. Only contributions made by the account owner are deductible. Rollover contributions are not deductible. Contribution deadline is December 31 postmark.

State tax recapture provisions:

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

State definition of qualified expenses

The District of Columbia 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 District of Columbia and non-DC 529 plans are exempt.

State tax treatment of rollovers:

District of Columbia follows federal tax-free treatment except that outbound rollovers within two years of establishing the account are subject to the recapture of prior D.C. tax deductions.

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:


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?


Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?


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





Plan News

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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11,969 clicked to enroll