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Scholars Choice

Top 10 reasons to save with Scholars Choice

Child is superhero costume pointing their finger

As one of the largest financial professional-sold 529 plans nationwide, Scholars Choice offers tax benefits, competitive fees and a wide range of investment options. This quick list will give you the key benefits at a glance.

 

1. Easy and convenient

With the help of your financial professional, a Scholars choice Education Savings Plan account can be easily opened and funded after completing a short application. Once the account is established, you can easily manage it online or by phone and set up recurring contributions from your bank account.

2. Your account can grow faster due to tax advantages

All earnings are free from federal income tax when used for qualified expenses, so you can earn more and grow your account faster when you pay fewer taxes.


3. Use at schools anywhere

Funds can be used at any accredited university, college or vocational school nationwide – and many abroad. Conveniently, any institution with a student aid program run by the U.S. Department of Education qualifies. Bonus: funds can now be used on apprenticeships and towards tuition for K-12 public, private or religious schools. State tax treatment of withdrawals for K-12 tuition expense, apprenticeship program expenses, and the repayment of student loans is determined by the state where you file state income tax. The tax consequences of using 529 plans for elementary or secondary education tuition expenses may include recapture of tax deductions received from the original state as well as penalties.*


4. Use for more than just tuition

Scholars Choice can be used to pay for tuition, certain room and board costs, as well as fees, books, supplies and other equipment. And now, you can use funds for apprenticeships expenses and towards tuition for K-12 public, private or religious schools. State tax treatment of withdrawals for K-12 tuition expense, apprenticeship program expenses, and the repayment of student loans is determined by the state where you file state income tax. Please see the Plan Description for additional qualified expenses and limitations.

5. Lower impact on financial aid than other savings options

Assets in accounts owned by a dependent student or one of their parents are considered parental assets on the FAFSA. When a school calculates the student's expected family contribution (EFC), a maximum of 5.64% of parental assets are counted. This is quite favorable compared to other student assets, which are counted at 20%. Higher EFC means less financial aid.

Being the account owner or beneficiary of an account may adversely affect the ability to receive financial aid or other benefits under government programs or from a school.

6. Affordable

Open an account with as little as $25 per investment portfolio. If you contribute using payroll direct deposit, you may contribute any dollar amount.

7. Everyone can help with Ugift®

You don’t have to do it all on your own! Grandparents as well as other family and friends can make gifts to your account for maximum growth potential. Ugift allows others to contribute towards your child’s (or loved one's) education through electronic contributions directly into your Scholars Choice account.

8. Unused funds can be used for other eligible members of your family

If it turns out your child or grandchild doesn’t need all the money or their education goals change, you can change your designated beneficiary penalty-free as long as they’re an eligible member of the family of the former beneficiary.

9. Investment flexibility

Your investment strategy should match your education goals – which includes your time frame and risk tolerance. With that in mind, Scholars Choice offers three specialized investment approaches. They feature professionally managed investment portfolios that utilize a blend of top tier asset managers that are unique to Scholars Choice. Working with your financial professional, you have the flexibility to totally customize your plan. The investment portfolios you’ll learn about may be used separately or together in a complementary mix.

10. Estate tax planning benefits

For federal tax purposes, contributions to your account by you or anyone else are generally considered completed gifts, and may qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion of $15,000 per year for single filers and $30,000 a year for couples. With 529 plans, you can give up to 5 years' worth of gifts at one time — for a maximum of $75,000 for a single filer and $150,000 for couples. See the Plan Description for additional information.

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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. The risk level automatically shifts from aggressive to conservative as the enrollment year approaches. Since education can start at many different ages, select the Enrollment Year Investment Portfolio that corresponds to your student's expected future year of enrollment or one that best meets your specific investment objective.
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.

* Not a qualified (tax-free) withdrawal in all states; check with your tax professional. Withdrawals for K-12 tuition expenses at a public, private or religious elementary, middle, or high school; registered apprenticeship programs; and student loan repayments can be withdrawn free from federal taxes, see the Plan Description for limitations. State tax treatment of withdrawals for these expenses is determined by the state where you file state income tax. For Colorado taxpayers, withdrawals for K-12 tuition expenses and student loan repayments will be treated as non-qualified withdrawals subject to Colorado state income tax and Colorado’s deduction recapture.

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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