News Column

SMART529 College Savings Program Surpasses

February 24, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va., Feb. 24 -- The West Virginia State Treasurer issued the following news release:

West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue recently joined with West Virginia Higher Education Policy Chancellor Paul Hill to announce that SMART529, West Virginia's College Savings Plan, has surpassed $2 billion in financial assets.

"Reaching $2 billion in investments is a significant achievement for the SMART529 program," said Treasurer Perdue. "It is evidence that more and more West Virginians are investing in the future of their children and preparing for life after high school. Saving for college has never been more important, with tuition costs rising and student debt climbing."

The SMART529 College Savings Program was established 11 years ago under Treasurer Perdue's leadership. Currently, SMART529 has more than 120,000 account owners.

"Based on today's rates, the average cost of college is more than $18,000 a year," Perdue said. "Even if your child receives a PROMISE scholarship, it may not be enough to cover all the expenses associated with costs of higher education. Parents need to act now, to make sure their child isn't left behind."

The announcement occurred in conjunction with Higher Education Day at the West Virginia Legislature. Susan Bumgardner, a student at Marshall University, spoke upon the invitation of the Treasurer.

"My parents started my SMART529 account when I was in elementary school," Bumgardner said. "It has been incredibly useful to me and I'm sure it has helped many other college students just as much if not more. I'm very grateful to my parents for having the foresight to become involved in the program while I was younger and I'm also grateful to Treasurer Perdue for having started the program."

A week before the announcement, the SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan was listed on CNBC's website as one of the top 10 college savings plans in the nation. It has also been given a 5-cap rating on, the highest rating a plan may receive.

A SMART529 account may be used for higher education expenses at most colleges, universities, vocational, technical and trade schools around the nation. There are also state and federal tax incentives.

SMART529 is a qualified tuition program issued by the West Virginia Prepaid College Tuition and Savings Program Board of Trustees and administered by Hartford Life.

SMART529 refers to West Virginia's specific plan. For more information or to enroll, go to or call 1-866-574-3542.

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Source: Targeted News Service

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