National College Savings Program NEW! PDF ReportPRO

North Carolina

North Carolina's National College Savings program features Vanguard funds in its age-based and static options, along with a fixed-income option managed by the state treasurer and a federally-insured deposit option through the State Employees Credit Union.

5-Cap Rating


In Savingforcollege.com's latest quarterly rankings, this plan ranked in the top 10 for 1-year, 3-year, 5-year and/or 10-year performance.

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. (Scale 0 to 5; 5 is highest)

Performance Costs Features Reliability Resident Upgrade
3.63 4.22 3.07 4.81 0.00

Start saving today

Access enrollment materials and open an account with National College Savings Program in just a few easy steps.

Enroll Now
29,479 have clicked to enroll


Program type:


How to enroll:

Enroll directly with the program.
Enroll Now
29,479 have clicked to enroll

Initial year of operation:


State agency(ies):

North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority

Program manager:

College Foundation, Inc.

Program distributor:

College Foundation, Inc.

Manager contract term:

PRO Premium subscription required for this data.


State residency requirements:


Who can be a participant/owner in the program?

Individuals at least 18 years old, emancipated minors, UGMA/UTMA custodians, and legal entities .

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:



Maximum contributions:

Accepts contributions until all account balances in the NC 529 plan for the same beneficiary reach $450,000.

Minimum contributions:

The minimum initial contribution is $25 and the minimum subsequent contribution is $25.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

The Vanguard Age-Based Option offers a choice among 3 different risk levels (Aggressive, Moderate, or Conservative). Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the selected risk level and number of years to expected enrollment, and later reassigned to more conservative portfolios until the beneficiary reaches age 19.

Static investment options:

Select among a fixed-income portfolio (The Dependable Income Fund), five multi-fund portfolios,four individual-fund portfolios, and a federally-insured deposit account through State Employees' Credit Union. An equity-indexed investment, the Protected Stock Fund, was closed to new investments on February 27, 2008. Also, a 100% equity portfolio, the Active Core Equity Fund, was closed January 31, 2011.

Underlying investments:

The Vanguard Age-Based option offers a choice between Aggressive, Moderate or Conservative Tracks all of which invest in Vanguard mutual funds. The multi-fund and individual options invest in Vanguard mutual funds also. The Dependable Income Fund uses the state treasurer's short-term investment portfolio.

Underlying fund allocations:

PRO Premium subscription required for this data.

Portfolio Fees & Performance Lookup

PRO Premium subscription required for this data.

See Investment Options

Fees & Expenses

Enrollment or application fee:


Account maintenance fee:

A $1.50/month ($18.00/year) fee is assessed per Account for paper delivery of statements and confirmations. This fee is waived if the Participant elects to receive electronic delivery.

Program management fees:


Expenses of the underlying investments:

NC Treasurer Dependable Income Fund: Less than 0.05%

Vanguard Age-Based Options: Ranges from 0.09% to 0.15%

Vanguard Individual and Multi-fund Options: 0.07% to 0.15%

Federally-Insured Deposit Account: None

Total asset-based expense ratio:

0.25% - 0.40%

Taxes and other Benefits

Program match on contributions:


State tax deduction or credit for contributions:


State tax recapture provisions:


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 North Carolina and non-North Carolina 529 plans are exempt.

State tax treatment of rollovers:

North Carolina follows federal tax-free treatment.

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?


Statutory protection of an account from creditors:

PRO Premium subscription required for this data.

Distributions & Terminations

To whom are distributions made payable:

Participant, designated beneficiary, or copayable to the beneficiary and eligible educational institution, as directed by the participant.

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?


Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?


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

PRO Premium subscription required for this data.



Enroll Now
29,479 have clicked to enroll



State News

Open an account in just a few easy steps. Start saving today!

Enroll Now
29,479 have clicked to enroll

Reset email successfully sent.
Please check your inbox.