Ohio's 529 Plan: Helping Families Save for College for 30 Years
Established Oct. 2, 1989, Ohio Tuition Trust Authority (OTTA) was originally created with the express purpose of helping middle-income families save for college. OTTA is the state agency that is the program administrator and sponsor of Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage.
“We advocate Ohio’s 529 Plan as an alternative to student loan debt. For 30 years, Ohio has offered this viable alternative and has proven to be a trusted, enduring partner to thousands. Families recognized the economic threat of student loan debt and the merits of saving and investing in Ohio’s 529 Plan for education expenses after high school,” said Executive Director Tim Gorrell.
By 1990, the first college saving accounts were opened in the Ohio Prepaid Tuition Program, now known as the CollegeAdvantage Guaranteed 529 Savings Plan. The prepaid tuition program received the full faith and credit backing by the state of Ohio in 1994, which continues to this day.
OTTA launched CollegeAdvantage with two new variable 529 savings plans, the Direct and Advisor Plans, with Putnam Investments in 2000. The State of Ohio also added a significant tax benefit with a $2,000 state income tax deduction for contributions to CollegeAdvantage.
Due to rapidly rising tuition costs and investment pressures in the markets, the Guaranteed Savings Plan was closed to contributions and new enrollments on Dec. 31, 2003. However, families are still able to access their existing accounts to pay the higher education expenses of the plan’s beneficiaries.
The CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan continued to develop in the early 2000s by adding passive investment options from Vanguard and FDIC-insured savings and CD options from Fifth Third Bank. Other significant Direct Plan structure changes were implemented in 2009 when Putnam was eliminated as the investment partner. With this change, customized Advantage Age-Based Portfolios were created for the Direct Plan and additional Vanguard investment options were also included. A second Advisor Plan, offered by BlackRock, was added. The Putnam Advisor Plan relationship ended in 2010.
In 2009, OTTA was moved under the Office of the Chancellor with Ohio Department of Higher Education, which was formerly known as the Ohio Board of Regents.
In January 2018, the State of Ohio tax deduction for contributions to CollegeAdvantage was doubled to $4,000 per year, per beneficiary, increasing the advantages of saving with Ohio’s 529 Plan.
Since the beginning, families have trusted Ohio’s 529 Plan with their college savings. On June 30, 2019, Ohio’s 529 Savings Program has assets under management (AUM) of $12.4 billion with 642,229 accounts.
For the last 30 years, Ohio’s 529 Plan has provided all families across the nation flexible options and educational resources to invest for education expenses after high school. Ohio 529 Plan can be used at any federally accredited four-year college or university, two-year community college, trade or vocational school, and certificate program across the country. Open your tax-advantaged Ohio’s 529 Plan today at CollegeAdvantage.com. Someday your child is going to college. Someday starts with Ohio’s 529 Plan.