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The Hartford SMART529

While a similar program (SMART529 WV Direct) is available to West Virginia residents on a direct basis, this advisor-sold version is available nationally. The Hartford SMART529 program features a menu of age-based, static, and individual portfolio options utilizing Hartford Funds, two iShares (BlackRock) funds, one MFS fund, and a stable value portfolio managed by Invesco. Accounts can be linked to the Upromise rewards service. To find a financial advisor in your area, use the Directory of Financial Professionals.

Our Ratingx

4 of 5

Fee Scorex

3.5 of 5

Performancex

N/A

  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception2002
  • State agency
    State 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 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.


2.58of 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 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:

With lump-sum contributions, the minimum initial contribution is $250 ($50 for West Virginia residents), and the minimum subsequent contribution is $25 (no minimum for West Virginia residents). With the automatic investment plan, the minimum contribution level is $25 per month ($15 per month for West Virginia residents).

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

The Age-Based Portfolios option consists of 9 portfolios of underlying 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 Checks and Balances), 13 individual-fund portfolios, and a stable value portfolio.View more static investment options

Underlying investments:

Hartford Funds mutual funds, two iShares (BlackRock) mutual funds, one MFS mutual fund, and an Invesco Stable Value portfolioView 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:

$25 annually, deducted at the end of each year, waived for accounts over $25,000, for WV residents, and for accounts in the automatic investment program. No annual maintenance fee for Class E fee structure.

Program management fees:

0.17% management fee (includes 0.07% to the state) except Stable Value has 0.15% management fee (includes 0.05% to the state), plus distribution/servicing fees of 0.25% (Class A), 0.80% (Class B), 0.99% (Class C), or 0% (Class E).

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Ranges from 0.14% to 0.92%.

Total asset-based expense ratio:

Class A: 0.54% - 1.34%
Class B: 1.09 - 1.89%
Class C: 1.28% - 2.08%
Class E: 0.29% - 1.09%

Broker loads and commissions:

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Breakpoint pricing:

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Does breakpoint pricing include non-529 assets under rights of accumulation policies

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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:

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.

Upromise Helps Families Save for College

Upromise Helps Families Save for College

Statutory protection of an account from creditors:

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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?

Yes

Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?

No, but ongoing contributions can be made online.

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

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Contact

Website:

https://www.hartfordfunds.com/products/college-savings/smart529.html

Telephone:

1-866-574-3542

Telephone for broker use:

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