SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Educational Savings Plan has reduced its administrative asset fee for most of its college savings investment options and eliminated its administrative mail delivery fee. The changes became effective July 1.
“Fees should not be a barrier to families saving for the higher education of their children. These adjustments are part of our ongoing effort to make college more attainable to families from all walks of life,” Lynne Ward, the plan’s executive director, said in a press release.
Utah’s official and only tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan offers 14 investment options to families investing for future qualified higher education expenses. According to the release, the plan also made other changes that improve flexibility and provide additional diversity to account portfolios.
The changes include:
• The number of age brackets in all predetermined and customized age-based investment options was increased to 10 brackets from seven to gradually smooth out the transitions between age brackets. With smaller equity step-downs between age brackets, an account should be less vulnerable to any sharp market fluctuations on the day it transitions to the next age bracket.
• The Age 19+ or College Enrolled age bracket was redesigned to remove the College Enrolled trigger from the age-based investment options. Previously, if an account owner withdrew funds to pay for the qualified higher education expenses of a high school student enrolled in a college class, the account was automatically moved to the Age 19+ or College Enrolled bracket. With the trigger removed, the age-based account remains in the bracket corresponding to the beneficiary’s age and continues along the glide path designed for the account owner’s investment option.
• The plan added the Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund to the Age-Based Aggressive Global, Age-Based Moderate and Age-Based Conservative investment options as an underlying investment. The mutual fund was added to increase diversity and reduce potential investment risk. An international fixed-income investment previously was not available as an underlying investment in the age-based options.
• Vanguard High-Yield Corporate Fund, Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund and Dimensional U.S. Sustainability Core 1 Portfolio were added as optional underlying funds available to investors in the Customized Age-Based and Customized Static investment options. Vanguard High-Yield Corporate Fund increases the diversity of fixed-income investments. Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund and Dimensional U.S. Sustainability Core 1 Portfolio invest in socially responsible companies.