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Independent 529 Plan


The Independent 529 Plan is a national prepaid tuition plan for private and independent colleges. It was launched in fall 2003. The plan is offered by the Tuition Plan Consortium, a non-profit consortium of several hundred independent colleges and universities.

The consortium was founded in January 1998 by a group of 18 southern colleges, and now includes more than 230 participating colleges in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Its members include a wide array of institutions, including large research institutions (Stanford, University of Chicago), traditional liberal arts colleges (Amherst, Middlebury), women's colleges (Smith, Wellesley), historically black colleges (Spelman, Dillard), technically-oriented institutions (Rice, RIT), and religiously-affiliated colleges (Notre Dame, SMU).

The plan allows parents to buy discounted certificates guaranteed to pay a fixed percentage of tuition at any of the schools in the consortium. The percentage varies depending on the current cost of tuition at the school. Contributions to the plan are capped at five years worth of tuition and mandatory fees at the most expensive college in the group (currently $137,500). Tuition certificates may not be redeemed within three years of the date of purchase and expire 30 years after the date of purchase.

The funds are invested through TIAA-CREF, but the family gets the guarantee of prepaid tuition regardless of how the investments perform. When a student enrolls at a participating college, the college will provide the promised percentage of tuition and in exchange will receive the actual return on investment. In this plan, the colleges will bear both the risks and the potential rewards from the investments. The colleges also pay all the fees, so there are no fees to consumers. Participating colleges feel that this program will help them with recruitment.

For more information, please contact:
Independent 529 Plan
PO Box 429
Albuquerque, NM 87103
Phone: 1-888-718-7878


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