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The Utah Education Savings Plan is now managing $12 billion in assets, a 20 percent increase from a year ago. UESP is the fourth-largest 529 college savings plan in the nation.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Education Savings Plan is now managing $12 billion in assets, a 20 percent increase from a year ago. UESP is the fourth-largest 529 college savings plan in the nation.

Utah's plan administers almost 355,000 accounts, up 7 percent from a year earlier. A year ago, the plan was managing $10 billion in assets.

“Assets under management are a key indicator of consumer confidence,” said Lynne Ward, UESP executive director. “Families in every state of the country are drawn to UESP’s tax-advantaged 529 plan because of its flexible investment options and fees that are among the lowest in the 529 marketplace.”

A 529 plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution to help families save for future college costs.

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UESP accounts provide tax benefits that make saving for higher education easier. Earnings used to pay for qualified higher education expenses are exempt from state and federal taxes. Additionally, Utah taxpayers may qualify for a state income tax credit or deduction up to a certain amount per beneficiary. Moreover, earnings accumulate inside the account tax-free.

In October, UESP was awarded Morningstar’s Analyst Rating of Gold for 2017. The plan has also received high reviews by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, magazine, CBS MoneyWatch.com and consumer expert Clark Howard for its low fees and customized investment allocation options.

Accounts can be opened for free and UESP requires no minimum deposit or account balance. Accounts can be opened, contributed to and managed online.

For more information, visit uesp.org or call 1 (800) 418-2551.