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Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Advisor-sold)

South Carolina's Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Advisor-sold) features an extensive menu of age-based and static portfolio options utilizing mutual funds from Columbia and a number of other fund families. Although sharing the same program name, the advisor-sold Future Scholar is significantly different from South Carolina's direct-sold Future Scholar, using actively-managed funds and index funds. To find a financial advisor in your area, use the Directory of Financial Professionals.

  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception2002
  • State agencyOffice of the State Treasurer
  • Program ManagerColumbia Management Investment Distributors, Inc.
  • Program distributorColumbia Management Investment Distributors, Inc.
  • Manager contract termUNLOCK PRO

Ratings & Rankings

Our overall rating for SC residents

This is a program that offers outstanding flexibility, attractive investments, and additional economic benefits (such as generous state tax incentives) that for some people, at least, will provide a substantial boost to their savings. There are few, if any, weaknesses noted in the program.

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.

3.26out 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. citizens and resident aliens and UGMA/UTMA custodians. The Treasurer and Program Manager may permit other persons and legal entities to open accounts; joint ownership by spouses is permitted.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:

None

Contributions

Maximum contributions:

Accepts contributions until all account balances in South Carolina's 529 plans for the same beneficiary reach $500,000.

Minimum contributions:

With lump-sum contributions, the minimum initial contribution is $100, and the minimum subsequent contribution is $25. With the automatic investment plan, there are no minimum payments.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

The Age-Based Portfolios option is offered in 3 different risk levels (Aggressive, Moderate, and Conservative) each containing 6 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 7 Target Allocation portfolios (Aggressive Growth, Growth, Moderate Growth, Moderate, Moderately Conservative, Conservative and College), 21 individual-fund portfolios, a money market fund, and a bank deposit account.View more static investment options

Underlying investments:

Mutual funds from Columbia, American Century, DFA, Fidelity, Janus, JP Morgan, MFS, Nuveen Wislow, and Franklin Templeton, ETFs from iShares, and a BB&T bank deposit account.View 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:

$25 annually for accounts with less than $10,000, waived for South Carolina residents and state employees, and for accounts in the automatic contribution plan.

Program management fees:

Management fee:
0.06% on average daily net assets of each portfolio up to $1,499,999,000
0.05% on average daily net assets of each portfolio from $1,500,000,000 - $1,999,999,000
0.04% on average daily net assets of each portfolio from $2,000,000,000 - $2,499,999,000
0.04% on average daily net assets of each portfolio over $2,500,000,000
(None for Columbia Bank Deposit 529 Porfolio)

0.10% fee to the state, plus distribution/servicing fees of 0.15% - 0.25% (Class A), 0.75% - 1.00% (Class C), 0.50% (Class E), or none (Class I)

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Ranges from 0.35% to 0.56% (portfolio weighted average) in the age-based and static portfolios, from 0.15% to 0.88% in the individual-fund portfolios. None for the Bank Deposit portfolio.

Total asset-based expense ratio:

Class A: 0.00% - 1.29%
Class C: 0.00% - 2.04%
Class E: 0.00% - 1.54%
Class I: 0.00% - 1.04%

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:

None.

State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

Contributions, Including rollover contributions, to a South Carolina 529 plan are fully deductible in computing South Carolina taxable income. Contribution deadline: April 15 of the following year.

State tax recapture provisions:

The principal portion of nonqualified withdrawals from this plan are included in South Carolina taxable income to the extent of prior South Carolina tax deductions. Rollovers apparently are not 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:

Qualified distributions from South Carolina and non-South Carolina 529 plans are exempt.

State tax treatment of rollovers:

South Carolina follows federal tax-free treatment.

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?

No

Statutory protection of an account from creditors:

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Distributions & Terminations

To whom are distributions made payable:

Eligible educational institution, beneficiary, beneficiary and institution jointly, 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:

https://www.columbiathreadneedleus.com/investment-products/529-plans

Telephone:

1-888-244-5674

Telephone for broker use:

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