Private College 529’s Commitment to Affordability Reaches 20 Years; Celebrates with Incentive for New Savers

Private College 529 Plan celebrates 20 years helping to make college affordable.

A new incentive encourages young families to start early and save longer.

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The nation’s only 529 prepaid tuition plan designed to address private college affordability turns 20 this month. Private College 529 Plan by CollegeWell is a purpose-driven consortium of nearly 300 colleges and universities, becoming operational in 2003, families have redeemed more than $190M in prepaid tuition at member colleges, reducing their costs by locking in rates years ago.

“Twenty years marks an important milestone for our plan,” says Bob Cole, president of Private College 529 Plan. “Our member institutions — many of whom have been with the plan from the start — are committed to college affordability and work hard to bridge the gap between rising tuition and access to a private college education.”

A new incentive program

As part of the anniversary celebration, the plan is offering a special incentive of up to $1,000 for families who enroll and save with auto-contributions. The incentive, called the 20th Anniversary Alumni Match, is limited to new savers with children 5 or younger who are alumni of the plan’s member colleges. You can learn more about the incentive here.

The advantages of prepaid tuition

With concerns about inflation and the cost of college, families can potentially save thousands of dollars on the cost of undergraduate education with Private College 529 Plan. Families purchase tuition certificates that lock in a percentage of tuition and fees at each member college. The locked-in amount varies, depending on the current rate of tuition and fees. When families save with Private College 529, they are pre-purchasing tuition at every college in the plan and any that may join in the future. Each member college guarantees the tuition for up to 30 years.

20 years later, the mission is unchanged

“From its inception, this plan has focused on affordability,” says Ed Kania, chair of Private College 529’s board and CFO at Rollins College. “Being part of this plan sends a clear message: our institution is committed to helping families save for college”.

Today, Private College 529 Plan and CollegeWell are working for over 6,000 families with more than $330 million under management.

The diverse range of member colleges that comprise Private College 529 Plan includes research universities, liberal arts colleges, religious schools, science and technology institutions and more. The broad range of college options made the plan attractive for Gabi Zola, who started saving for her daughter, Ruthie, when she was young.

“I loved the Private College 529 model of locking in tuition,” says Zola. “And there were enough schools in the plan that made it appealing.” Their daughter is now a junior at a participating school, and they’ve been able to cover one and a half years of her college tuition and fees by saving in the plan.

Other perks of the plan

Located nationwide, there is no state residency requirement to participate, and the plan offers the same federal tax benefits as all other 529 plans. For Ken Weingarten, a Certified Financial Planner and saver in the plan, the value was clear.

“As a financial planner, I’m constantly seeking out new options for my clients. When I learned about Private College 529, I was intrigued,” says Weingarten. “Personally, I see tremendous value in the ability to lock in rates, especially as children get closer to college going age. This was an important factor in our decision to save in the plan for our children.”

Funds in the plan can be used only for tuition and mandatory fees at member institutions, so it works well alongside traditional 529 savings accounts to pay for room and board, books and other higher-education expenses. If the student does not attend a member college, funds in the plan can be rolled over to another 529 plan or the beneficiary can be changed.

About Private College 529 Plan and CollegeWell

Private College 529 is the only prepaid tuition plan that guarantees today’s tuition rates at hundreds of colleges nationwide, giving families flexibility and choice while making private college more accessible. For families who want to keep their options open, this simple, low-risk solution pairs well with non-prepaid (traditional) college savings plans for a holistic and balanced approach to saving for college.

On the education side, CollegeWell is changing the way families feel about and approach college savings. Through expert guidance and genuine support, families can get on the right path and start saving for college – with confidence.

For more information, visit

Purchasers should carefully consider the risks associated with purchases and refunds of Tuition Certificates. The Disclosure Statement contains this and other information about the Plan, and may be obtained by visiting or calling 1.888.718.7878. Purchasers should read these documents carefully before purchasing a Tuition Certificate.

CollegeWell and Private College 529 Plan (the Plan) are established and maintained by Tuition Plan Consortium, LLC (TPC). This material is provided for general and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide legal, tax, or investment advice, or for use to avoid penalties that may be imposed under U.S federal tax laws. Intuition College Savings Solutions, LLC (Intuition) is the Plan Administrator. Participation in the Plan does not guarantee admission to any college or university. Tuition Certificates are neither insured nor guaranteed by the FDIC, TPC, any government agency, Intuition or their respective subcontractors and affiliates. However, Tuition Certificates are guaranteed by colleges and universities solely for tuition and mandatory fee credits. Tuition Certificates must be held for at least 36 months from the issue date before they can be redeemed to pay for tuition at a participating school. The issue date is the first date during a plan year that a purchase of a Tuition Certificate is made. Please read the Disclosure Statement and Enrollment Agreement carefully and consider your financial objectives and risks before purchasing a Tuition Certificate. TPC, Intuition and their respective subcontractors and affiliates do not provide financial, legal or tax advice. Contact your attorney or other advisor regarding your specific legal, investment or tax situation.

Private College 529 Plan assets can be used to pay any qualified expense at any college or university, public or private. The tuition guarantee applies only to participating institutions. Outside the network, the value of the account is calculated as your total contributions adjusted for net investment returns subject to a maximum increase of 2 percent per year or a maximum loss of 2 percent per year, compounded annually. If the refunded amount is not used to pay qualified education expenses, the earnings portion will be subject to federal income tax and an additional 10 percent penalty. See Disclosure Statement for details. © 2023 Tuition Plan Consortium, LLC. All rights reserved. 8005-NLD-09222023.


Jonathan Sparling