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TNStars College Savings 529 Program

The TNStars College Savings 529 Program is administered by the Tennessee Treasury Department. It features an age-based option, individual investment options with underlying funds from a range of fund companies including Vanguard, DFA, and Primecap, and an interest bearing account option with First Tennessee Bank.


  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception2012
  • State agencyState of Tennessee Department of Treasury and the Baccalaureate Education System Trust Board of Trustees
  • Tax deduction
    Tax deduction for single filers None
    Tax deduction for joint filers None
  • Program Manager
    State of Tennessee Department of Treasury
  • Program distributor
    Not applicable.
  • Manager contract termUNLOCK PRO

Ratings & Rankings

Our overall rating for TN 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.


3.30out of 5

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 legal residents at least 18 years old, UGMA/UTMA custodians, and legal entities.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:

Any contribution made to an account must be on the account for 21 days before it can be withdrawn.

Contributions

Maximum contributions:

$350,000 including all accounts in the program and any accounts in Tennessee's BEST Prepaid Program held for the same beneficiary

Minimum contributions:

The minimum initial or subsequent contribution to an account for each investment option is $25. Once an initial contribution is made to the account, there are no required subsequent contributions.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

An age-based option offers five age bands. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the beneficiary's age and automatically shift to a more conservative portfolio over time.View more age-based investment options

Static investment options:

Select among 12 individual options investing in Vanguard, DFA, or Primecap funds, or an interest bearing account option with First Tennessee Bank National Association.View more static investment options

Underlying investments:

Vanguard and DFA in the age-based option; Vanguard, DFA, and Primecap in the individual optionsView 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

Account maintenance fee:

None

Program management fees:

0.00% - 0.315%

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Ranges from 0.04% to 0.27% in the age-based option; 0.04% to 0.64% in the individual options; none for the interest bearing account.

Total asset-based expense ratio:

Capped at 0.35% due to state subsidy, none for the interest bearing account.

Taxes and other Benefits

  • Tax deduction for single filersNone
  • Tax deduction for joint filersNone

Note

Tennessee doesn't offer tax deductions

Program match on contributions:

Under the Tennessee Investments Preparing Scholars Program (TIPS), eligible families can receive a matching contribution of $100 for a minimum $25 investment, or $500 for a minimum $125 investment. Beneficiaries can receive a maximum match of $500 per year for up to three years.

State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

Not applicable. Tennessee does not have a personal income tax.

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:

Not applicable. Tennessee does not have a personal income tax. Contributions to, and distributions from, Tennessee and non-Tennessee 529 plans are specifically exempt from all Tennessee state, county, and municipal taxes.

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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Want to Boost your Savings?

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Alternative 529 Plans

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41,786 clicked to enroll
NextGen 529 -- Client Direct Series

The Maine NextGen 529 -- Client Direct Series is available through Merrill Edge. The plan utilizes BlackRock (including iShares) funds in its age-based and static options. In addition, the Principal Plus Portfolio and the NextGen Savings Portfolio are available.

Our rating for residents
Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.53%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
9.69%
7.82%
9.61%
6.92%

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Matching Grants for qualifying accounts
enroll now
49,106 clicked to enroll
T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan

T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan, the nationally-branded version of Alaska's direct-sold 529 savings program mirrors the University of Alaska College Savings Plan but lacks the ACT Portfolio found in the UA program. The enrollment-based and static portfolios available in this program utilize T. Rowe Price mutual funds.

Our rating for residents
Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.7%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
12.2%
9.5%
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Protection from creditors
enroll now
144,867 clicked to enroll
New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan

New York's direct-sold 529 college savings plan is available to residents of any state. It offers low fees and diverse investment options featuring Vanguard mutual funds. New York residents may enjoy a state tax deduction for contributions to the plan.

Our rating for residents
Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.13%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
-
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Large tax deduction on contributions for residents

Distributions & Terminations

To whom are distributions made payable:

The purchaser, beneficiary or the institution of higher education. Non-qualified withdrawals that are "refunds" or that are eligible for a waiver of the federal 10 percent penalty tax are payable to the purchaser.

Account Changes

Policy regarding participant/owner changes:

No provision for permitting an account owner change.

Documents, Access & Reporting

Does participant have online password-protected access to account?

Yes

Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?

Yes

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

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Contact

Website:

http://tnstars.com/

Telephone:

855-386-7827

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