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SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan logo

SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan

The West Virginia SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan, available on a direct basis to those who meet certain West Virginia residency requirements, features a stable value option along with a menu of age-based and static portfolio options utilizing index funds from Vanguard. Accounts can be linked to the Upromise rewards service.


  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception2002
  • State agencyState Treasurer's Office under the authority of the West Virginia College Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program Board of Trustees
  • Tax deduction
    Tax deduction for single filers No limit
    Tax deduction for joint filers No limit
  • Program Manager
    Hartford Funds Management Company, LLC
  • Program distributor
    Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC
  • Manager contract termUNLOCK PRO

Ratings & Rankings

Our overall rating for WV 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 program is not open to you either because it has residency requirements or because it has stopped accepting new enrollments.

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.


4.55out 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:

The account owner or designated beneficiary must have a West Virginia mailing address or be a West Virginia resident on active duty in the U.S. armed forces.

Who can be a participant/owner in the program?

U.S. citizens and resident aliens at least 18 years old, UGMA/UTMA custodians, and legal entities.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:

None

Contributions

Maximum contributions:

Accepts contributions until all account balances in West Virginia's 529 plans for the same beneficiary reach $400,000.

Minimum contributions:

No minimum.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

The Age-Based Portfolios option consists of 5 portfolios of underlying mutual funds with varying risk tolerances. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the beneficiary's age, and later reassigned to more conservative portfolios as the beneficiary approaches college age.View more age-based investment options

Static investment options:

Select among 5 multi-fund portfolios (Aggressive Growth, Growth, Balanced, Conservative Balanced, and Conservative Bond), the SMART529 Stable Value portfolio and the SMART529 500 Index Fund.View more static investment options

Underlying investments:

Vanguard index funds, SMART529 stable value.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.

Account maintenance fee:

None.

Program management fees:

0.08%.

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Ranges from 0.04% to 0.14%.

Total asset-based expense ratio:

0.12% to 0.22%

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:

The SMART529 Bright Babies Program (effective 8/1/15) provides a one-time incentive contribution in the amount of $100 per designated beneficiary born or adopted on or after 1/1/15. The designated beneficiary must be a resident of West Virginia and the account must be opened within one year of the birth/adoption date.

The SMART529 Matching Grant Program (discontinued for new applications as of 8/31/15) provides matching grants to eligible West Virginia families in an amount up to $500 per designated beneficiary per year, up to a lifetime maximum of $2,500 per designated beneficiary, with a dollar for dollar match.

State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

Contributions to West Virginia's 529 plans are fully deductible in computing West Virginia taxable income.

State tax recapture provisions:

The principal portion of nonqualified withdrawals from this plan are included in West Virginia taxable income to the extent of prior West Virginia 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 West Virginia and non-West Virginia 529 plans are exempt.

State tax treatment of rollovers:

West Virginia follows federal tax-free treatment.

Does the sponsoring state exclude the value of an account for state financial aid purposes?

Yes

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?

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

Alternative 529 Plans

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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
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49,108 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
144,869 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:

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?

Yes

Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?

Yes, including subsequent contributions.

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

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Contact

Website:

https://www.smart529.com/home.html

Telephone:

1-866-574-3542