In April 2022, the Biden administration extended the suspension of federal student loans for the fourth time, delaying collections and interest until August 31, 2022, adding to the confusion and frustration of student borrowers and loan officers. . This frustration with rising student debt and the effect of the pandemic on higher education costs has resurfaced the need to save early in college. To help caregivers plan for rising costs, the Nasdaq Fund Network (NFN) has released its new 529 College Savings Scorecard, a tool that describes 529 stock classes by Net Asset Value (NAV) for those looking to improve their college savings plan.
Despite the pandemic closing campuses, college fees have risen for the majority of students, adding to an already widening gap between rising tuition and falling financial aid opportunities. With distance learning keeping students off campus, many have postponed college admissions, wondering why they would pay so much for so little college experience. Today, with students largely back on campus, the renewed focus on the student debt crisis is putting the costs of higher education back in the spotlight.
A 529 college savings plan is a fund where parents and caregivers can set aside tax-free income specifically for future tuition and even K-12 education. These costs include tuition, housing, apprenticeships, trade schools, and student loans. Some states even have tax credits for 529 plans that provide even more savings.
But a recurring problem with 529 plans is how to choose which plan is right for which family. While 529 plans are similar in terms of tax benefits, they differ in terms of tax savings, management fees, and performance over time. This can cause undue stress for parents and caregivers who want to invest in the best fund for their children based on their own financial circumstances.
Speaking at the Institutional Shareholders Services 529 conference in November, Devin McCarthy, Managing Director of NFN, highlighted the impetus behind the dashboard, “529 accounts deserve to have the same level of transparency as stocks, ETFs and mutual funds…all investors deserve to have a consolidated view of what they’re investing in,” McCarthy said.
Click image to see full size version in a new tab
Nasdaq’s new 529 dashboard adds increased transparency to NFN’s mission to facilitate college savings. The NFN already compiles data and information on a slew of 529 plans across the country, registering more than 1,200 share classes in a dozen state sponsors. Thanks to Nasdaq, each plan has a searchable symbol, giving issuers a convenient platform to offer immediate price discovery and transparency to advisors and investors.
Unlike the other 529 dashboards, the Nasdaq focused on the net asset value of these share classes on a quarterly basis. NAV’s 529 performance tracking provides enhanced analytics designed to achieve three goals:
- To raise awareness
- Honored participants
- Focus on performance
“We’ve really turned it around by releasing a dashboard based on the change in net asset value over a quarter, to give families a different look at how their investments are performing,” McCarthy said.
Paying for college doesn’t have to be a burden with a smart investment. While the high costs of a college education scare off many families, small contributions show significant results over time. The new 529 Dashboard is part of NFN’s ongoing efforts to drive savings transparency, distribution, and awareness for education spending.
McCarthy added that the scorecard is a great addition for parents looking to diversify their college savings plans with a financial advisor, “It’s a conversation starter and a different way to look at performance in the space 529…but families should always consult an advisor as to which plan is right for them.
To learn more about what NFN does, visit Nasdaq.com/Nasdaq-Fund-Network-529s or contact the Nasdaq Fund Network.
Quarterly Performance – Nasdaq Fund Network presents the investment option with the largest quarterly price change in net asset value from October 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. State plans in the scorecard represent plans currently registered on the Nasdaq Fund Network. The Nasdaq does not take into account differences in asset allocation, investment style, share class, etc. for the investments presented. As always, investors should consider all investment options to identify an investment option that best meets the investor’s objectives.