PLANSPONSOR Data Reveals 529 Savings Trends

Retirement plan advisers may find a natural extension of their business model in serving the 529 college savings plan market. 

New commentary penned on the most recent PLANSPONSOR Defined Contribution (DC) Survey results by Paul Curley, director of college savings research for Strategic Insight, suggests the frequency of firms offering to assist with the cost of higher or continuing education is greater than ever.

The DC survey asked retirement plan sponsors if they provide any type of “tuition reimbursement program for post-employment education/tuition expenses.” Overall 47.1% of respondents answered in the affirmative, with “positive responses increasing with the size of the firm.”

As Curley observes, the survey also asked if the plan sponsors “provide a student loan repayment/reimbursement program for new/recent graduates.” Just 2.2% of firms surveyed indicated they do so.

Important to note, according to Curley, is that “among firms offering a 529 plan, the response rates on these two questions increased from 47.1% to 71.8% and from 2.2% to 5.5%. Alternatively among firms that don’t offer a 529 plans, the response rates decreased from 47.1% to 44.8% and from 2.2% to 1.8%.”

Curley suggests “529 product providers should note that employers offer the benefits of a 529, tuition reimbursement and student loan repayment together, as opposed to one higher education benefit over another.”

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