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College SAVE (Direct)

North Dakota's College SAVE, managed by Ascensus College Savings, offers 9 investment options: three age-based options and six individual portfolios managed by Vanguard. Accounts can be linked to the Upromise rewards service.

Our Ratingx

Fee Scorex

2.5 of 5


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  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception2001, but substantially changed in November 2006
  • State agency
    Bank of North Dakota
  • Tax deduction
  • Program Manager
    Ascensus College Savings
  • Program distributor
    Ascensus College Savings
  • Manager contract termUNLOCK PRO

Ratings & Rankings

Our overall rating for ND residents

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

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.


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 at least 18 years old, UTMA/ UGMA custodians, trusts, state/local governments, and 501(c)(3) organizations.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:


Did you know?

  • ND residents can claim a tax deduction for contributions to a ND 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 North Dakota's 529 plan for the same beneficiary reach $269,000.

Minimum contributions:

The minimum initial contribution is $25.00 and the minimum subsequent contribution is $25.00 ($12.50 for payroll direct deposit.)

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

There are 3 age-based options (Conservative, Moderate, and Aggessive), each containing up to 5 investment portfolios. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the selected option and age of the beneficiary, and later reassigned to more conservative portfolios as the withdrawal date draws nearer.View more age-based investment options

Static investment options:

Six asset allocation portfolios are offered. The Aggressive Growth, Growth, Moderate Growth, and Conservative Growth portfolios invest in Vanguard stock and bond index funds. The Income Portfolio invests in Vanguard bond index funds, inflation-protected securities fund, and the Vanguard Short-Term Reserves Account. The Interest Accumulation Portfolio invests 100% in the Vanguard Short-Term Reserves Account.View more static investment options

Underlying investments:

Vanguard mutual funds.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:

$20 annually, waived for North Dakota residents.

Program management fees:

0.50% to 0.51% (including 0.10% fee to the state)

Expenses of the underlying investments:

0.04% to 0.05%

Total asset-based expense ratio:


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:

The BND Match Program provides a one-time match of contributions up to $300 per beneficiary for North Dakota participants and active duty military families with incomes below $80,000 (single) or $120,000 (joint). Contributions within 12 months of the account opening are eligible for the match. The beneficiary must be 15 years of age or younger. For participants with incomes below $60,000 (single) or $80,000 (joint), the match is available for an additional two years. An additional matching program, New Baby Match, provides a North Dakota resident child 12 months or younger to be considered for a grant in the amount of $200. New Baby Match participants must enroll in CollegeSAVE and contribute $200 prior to the child's first birthday to qualify for the match.

State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

Contributions to the North Dakota 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 North Dakota taxable income. Contribution deadline is December 31. Contributions may be used for K-12 Tuition Expenses without tax consequences.

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 North Dakota and non-North Dakota 529 plans are exempt.

State tax treatment of rollovers:

North Dakota follows federal tax-free treatment.

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:





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

College SAVE (Direct) logo
enroll now
21,843 clicked to enroll