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Scholars Choice

Scholars Choice: a scholarly choice

Two children in an airplane pose

The Scholars Choice Education Savings Plan is comprised of funds from Nuveen, TIAA and other leading asset managers

It also has tax advantages for multiple states, with added benefits for Colorado residents. In fact, if you are a Colorado taxpayer, up to $22,700 for single tax filers per beneficiary, or $34,000 for joint tax filers per beneficiary can be deducted from your Colorado taxable income!


Benefits of 529 Plans

It’s never too early to prepare for a loved one's successful future. No matter what their age — with the rising cost of tuition — the time to start is now. Every dollar you can pay for school upfront can equal more than two dollars your loved one won’t need to repay in student loans down the road. This can make saving one of the most cost-effective education funding options out there.

Scholars Choice is a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged 529 savings plan that’s helping families and individuals plan for the cost of education. It is available to any citizen or tax payer, and just about anyone can help contribute including grandparents, aunts & uncles and more. There are a variety of low-cost investment portfolios to choose from including enrollment-year based, target allocation and individual fund options.

In addition, a 529 plan offers certain gift and estate tax planning benefits that can be discussed with your tax professional. And withdrawals are tax-free at both the federal and state level when used for qualified education expenses.

You can use the funds for a lot more than just tuition — including required fees, certain room and board costs, books, supplies, as well as computers and related technology costs such as internet access fees and printers. Funds can be used at most accredited colleges and universities in the United States — even certain colleges abroad. And now withdrawals can also be used to pay for up to $10,000 per year of tuition at public, private or religious elementary or secondary schools (K-12).

In fact, Qualified Education Expenses also include expenses for fees, books, supplies and equipment required for the participation of a designated beneficiary in an apprenticeship program registered and certified with the Secretary of Labor under the National Apprenticeship Act; and up to $10,000 repaid (including principal and interest) on any qualified education loan of either a 529 plan designated beneficiary or a sibling of the designated beneficiary. To be a qualified expense, the loan repayment amount for an individual is subject to a lifetime limit of $10,000.*

If you’re worried about having the account in one state and attending school in another, don’t be. With most plans, your school choice is not affected by the state of your savings plan. For example, you can be a resident of Colorado and send your student to school in California.


Scholars Choice: the right plan

Favorable tax treatment

Significant flexibility


Professionally managed


Balancing saving for higher education with retirement 

While certain types of investment accounts like a classic IRA or Roth IRA can be used to pay for college, their ultimate purpose is to save for retirement. You don’t want your child’s education to come at the cost of your retirement nest egg, so it’s better to save separately and avoid using your retirement fund.

Remember, it’s not about covering all the costs for your child’s college — it’s about saving as much as you can. You still need to look to your own future! You don’t want to have to work longer or become a burden upon your children as they're building their lives. In simple terms, your children can get scholarships or financial help to pay for school, but as a retiree, you won’t have any such options.


How much to save?

In short, it all depends on your savings objective and risk tolerance. We encourage you to leverage the College Savings Calculator to get a detailed personalized view. In addition, you should always consult with your financial professional to develop a plan that is advantageous to your financial situation.


Work with a financial professional

A financial professional can discuss how a 529 plan fits your overall investment strategy and how you might want to tailor your savings plan. Whether you have been working with a financial professional for years or just starting to look for one, here are questions to help start the conversation.

  1. What are the different ways to save for education goals?
  2. What are the major differences between taxable, tax-deferred and tax-free accounts?
  3. Are there any state-specific benefits based on the state that I reside?
  4. What are the best investments options based on my objectives and goals?
  5. How can I save for retirement while still saving for other large expenses like education?

Don't have a financial professional to work with? Find one today

Scholars Choice logo

Portfolio options
Scholars Choice Enrollment year investment portfolios
These portfolios base their investment mix on the first year the student is expected to pay for qualified education expenses.
Scholars Choice Target allocation portfolios
Four professionally constructed investment portfolios with a fixed level of risk that invest in multiple underlying funds. These may be appropriate if you prefer a diversified investment portfolio with a fixed risk level rather than a risk level that changes as the designated beneficiary ages.
Scholars Choice Individual fund portfolios
This multi-manager lineup offers 14 investment portfolios, each of which invests in a single underlying fund for targeted investment exposure. You may select among U.S. equity, non-U.S. equity, and fixed income asset classes, as well as the ESG choices. There is also a money market option if you are risk-averse. Working with your financial professional, you can create a customized investment solution using these individual fund portfolios.

* State tax treatment of withdrawals for apprenticeship program expenses, and the repayment of student loans is determined by the state where you file state income tax. If you are not a Colorado taxpayer, please consult with a tax professional.

The Scholars Choice Education Savings Plan is offered by the State of Colorado. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. is the Plan Manager and Nuveen Securities, LLC is the Distributor.

There are various risks associated with an investment in the Scholars Choice Education Savings Plan; principal loss is possible.

The Scholars Choice Education Savings Plan’s Investment Portfolios are subject to the risks of the underlying fund(s) in which they invest and other risks, as described in the Plan Description. To obtain a more complete description of the investment policies and risks of the underlying funds, please refer to the current prospectuses for the underlying funds.

The Target Allocation Portfolios are currently comprised of four Investment Portfolios. The Target Allocation Portfolios are designed for account owners who prefer a diversified Investment Portfolio with a fixed risk level rather than a risk level that changes as the Designated Beneficiary ages.

The Enrollment Year Investment Portfolios are intended for Account Owners who prefer an Investment Portfolio with a risk level that becomes increasingly conservative over time as the Designated Beneficiary approaches expected enrollment in an Eligible Educational Institution and/or expected year in which amounts will be withdrawn to pay for Qualified Higher Education Expenses. There are ten target Enrollment Year Investment Portfolios that invest in multiple underlying funds, each of which has a different investment strategy.

Before investing, carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the Scholars Choice Education Savings Plan, including whether the investor’s or Designated Beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investment in such state’s qualified tuition program. Other state benefits may include financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors. For this and other information that should be read carefully, please read the Plan Description or request one at 888-5-SCHOLAR (888-572-4652).

Participation in the Scholars Choice Education Savings Plan does not guarantee that the account’s assets will be adequate to cover future tuition or other higher education expenses, or that contributions and the investment return on contributions, if any, will be adequate to cover future tuition and other eligible education expenses or that a Designated Beneficiary will be admitted to or permitted to continue to attend any eligible educational institution. Contributions to an Account and the investment earnings, if any, are not guaranteed or insured.

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