Public Affairs

January 12, 2006

NR1-06: UA College Savings Plan Tops $2 Billion Mark in Assets


For Immediate Release
Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006       

More Alaskans than ever before are setting aside money to attend college through the University of Alaska's College Savings Plan. The plan recently hit the $2 billion mark in assets held in trust for college-bound students.
 
Investments by Alaskans in the plan stand at $72 million, up from about $30 million five years ago.  Meanwhile, the number of people investing through the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend application has risen from 4,464 in 2001 to 7,483 in 2005.
 
"The growth in participation by Alaskans themselves is a very strong indicator that saving for college is extremely important for people in this state," said Linda English, program director for the university system.
 
"High expectations from parents, including early conversations about college with their children, are incredible incentives. The mindset on college seems to be shifting from 'if'  to 'when.'  We think this is really exciting."
 
UA's College Savings Plan, often referred to as a "529 plan" for the federal section of the tax code it falls under, expanded in 2001 to allow for more investment options and flexibility.  T. Rowe Price Investment Services Inc. manages the plan on behalf of UA. The partnership has worked well for the university, which has seen its plan rated among the top college savings plans in the country by Morningstar Inc., an independent investment research firm, for each of the last two years. The plan started in 1991 as the Advance College Tuition program.
 
Earnings from 529 college savings plans are tax deferred and distributions are tax exempt when used to pay for qualified education expenses. Plans of this type have become a popular way for parents to save for their children's college.
 
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For more information, call Linda English at
 
907/450-8115; visit www.uacollegesavings.com; or call 866-277-1005.
 
NR1-06

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