General InformationDownload PDF Report

TNStars College Savings 529 Program logo

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.

Our Ratingx

4 of 5

Fee Scorex

4.5 of 5


3.5 of 5

  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception2012
  • State agency
    State 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.'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.

3.30of 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 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Any contribution made to an account must be on the account for 21 days before it can be withdrawn.


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:


Portfolio Fees & Performance Lookup


Fees & Expenses

Enrollment or application fee:


Account maintenance fee:


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


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?


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:


Want to Boost your Savings?

You could be saving more with gifts from family and friends. CollegeBacker makes it easy to start a 529 plan, and then invite others to contribute for birthday parties, holidays, or even on a monthly basis.

Start saving with family and friends

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?


Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?


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