Montana's College Savings Plan
Achieve Montana is Montana’s state sponsored 529 savings plan. Named after section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, 529 plans are tax advantaged savings vehicles designed to helps families save today for tomorrow’s higher education expenses.
When you invest in a 529 plan, your assets grow deferred from federal and generally from state income taxes; that means that your dollars can grow faster. When you're ready to use your 529 plan account, all withdrawals used for qualified higher education expenses are free from federal income taxes. Qualified higher education expenses include:
- Mandatory fees
- Books, supplies, and equipment required for enrollment or attendance
- Certain room and board costs
You can open an account for as little as $25 and make additional contributions of $25, or $15 with payroll deduction, where available.
A 529 plan is a tax advantaged college savings vehicle, named after section 529 of the internal revenue code. With a 529 plan, contributions into an account are allowed to grow tax free, while at the same time allowing for tax free disbursements when the funds are used to pay for schooling at any accredited institution worldwide. 529 plans are sponsored by a state’s government and are usually managed by a program administrator. Most states offer tax incentives for resident investors who contribute to 529 plans.
As college costs continue to rise, a 529 college savings plan is one of the best mechanisms available to families to pay for college. By combining a well thought-out investment strategy with the tax advantages offered by many states, a 529 college savings account is an outstanding way to cover the cost of college.
Yes, Montana has its own 529 plan, Achieve Montana, and offers two kinds of investment options, an Age-Based option and Individual Portfolios. Choose either or both approaches that meet your time horizon, risk tolerance and investment style.
The Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education (the program trustee) has contracted with Ascencus College Savings to serve as the program manager of Montana’s 529 plan.
Achieve Montana, and offers two kinds of investment options, an Age-Based option and Individual Portfolios. Unlike the Age-Based Option, however, the Individual Portfolios do not change the types and composition of investments as your beneficiary ages. Instead, the types and composition of investments remains fixed over time. Choose either or both approaches that meet your time horizon, risk tolerance and investment style.
There are several reasons to invest in Montana's 529 plan:
- Contributions you make to an Achieve Montana account may be eligible as a yearly deduction from adjusted gross income of up to $3,000 per taxpayer per year ($6,000 for those married, filing jointly), in computing Montana state income tax.*
- By investing with Achieve Montana you can maintain a college savings plan with low fees.
- It only takes $25 to open an account ($15 with payroll direct deposit, where available)
- You can manage your account online, including making contributions, reallocations, and qualified withdrawals, update account information, and more.
Achieve Montana has no commissions, loads, or sales charges. The total annual asset-based fee ranges from 0.395% to 0.587% (depending on which investments you choose). In addition, an Annual Account Maintenance Fee of $25 is charged to each account. This fee is waived if you are a Montana resident, use an AIP, take advantage of payroll deduction through your employer, or maintain an account balance equal to or greater than $25,000.
Achieve Montana accounts are charged a $25 annual maintenance fee. However, the fee is waived for any account owner who is a Montana resident, anyone who uses an automatic investment plan (AIP) or payroll deduction, or for any account with a balance of $25,000 or more.
Achieve Montana shares are direct sold only, so investors will need to contact Achieve Montana directly by calling 877-486-9271 or by visiting achievemontana.com.
Contributions to your 529 account may be made by the following means:
- Payment by check, the first of which must include a minimum initial investment of $25.00.
- Payment through automatic withdrawal from a bank account. This is a preauthorized agreement between you and the program manager to automatically withdraw a set amount per month from your bank account and deposit it into your 529 account. Payment by this means waives the initial investment.
- Payment through payroll deduction is also available if such a service is offered by your employer. Check with your employer to see if payroll deduction services are offered. Payment by this means waives the initial investment.
Employers interested in offering payroll deductions should contact Achieve Montana at 877-486-9271.