FILE - A graduation cap during The University of Utah's commencement ceremony at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Salt Lake City.
Jacob Wiegand, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's college savings plan, my529, has more than $13 billion in assets under management, the plan's managers announced Tuesday.

This milestone comes less than a year after the plan reached $12 billion in assets under management, which was achieved in January.

Formerly the Utah Educational Savings Plan, my529 is Utah’s official nonprofit 529 college savings plan. The plan has been recognized by the financial press and consumer experts for its low fees and industry innovations such as customized allocation investment options.

According to a my529 press release, the $13 billion milestone "indicates that families value investing for higher education."

It notes a 2018 report by Sallie Mae Bank that showed saving for college was a top priority for parents after emergency savings and general savings, but ahead of retirement savings.

The plan has nearly 375,000 accounts as of Aug. 29 — up 20,000 accounts since January.

“Assets under management are a key indicator of consumer confidence,” said my529 executive director Lynne Ward.

“Families in every state are drawn to Utah’s tax-advantaged my529 plan because it offers flexible investment options as well as fees that are among the lowest in the 529 marketplace," she said.

Accounts are free to open and my529 requires no minimum deposit or account balance. Accounts can be managed online. For more information, visit its website at my529.org.

Out of 91 plans surveyed by Strategic Insight, an asset-management research company, Utah's my529 is the nation’s fifth-largest plan.

It is also one of four plans in the country that received the Morningstar Analyst Rating of Gold in 2017. The plan has achieved this rating seven years running.

Morningstar, an investment research firm, evaluated 62 plans in 2017 and recognized my529 for its competitive fees, state tax benefits and flexible investment options.

“The standout oversight provided by Utah has resulted in multiple years of small but steady fee cuts,” wrote Morningstar analyst Heather Larsen in her evaluation of Utah’s plan.

“Both residents and nonresidents will be well served by its low cost and appealing set of investment options.”