February 16, 2006

Morningstar Again Gives UA College Savings Plan High Marks

The University of Alaska’s College Savings Plan has, for the third year running, been named one of the best college savings plans in the country by Morningstar Inc., a leading provider of independent investment research.

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 families to save for future college expenses.

"The Morningstar ranking speaks very highly of our program, which recently surpassed the $2 billion mark in assets set aside for future college students," said Linda English, director of the program for UA statewide. "Over half of Alaskans investing in this plan make less than $50,000, as combined household income, annually. Additionally, many of these children may represent the first generation of their family to attend college. These parents clearly want the best opportunities for their children and we’re pleased to help them reach that goal."

English said the university’s partnership with T. Rowe Price is a key reason for the plan’s popularity and success.  "We definitely appreciate our relationship with T. Rowe Price. Through our partnership, we’ve brought a high quality, low-cost savings program to Alaska and that has helped us reach more Alaskans."

The UA College Savings Plan allows investors to contribute directly to the plan.  Morningstar said T. Rowe Price's sound asset-allocation strategy and reasonable costs make the UA plan a top choice for those who prefer active management.  Morningstar looked at costs, quality of underlying investments, portfolio construction and asset allocation, flexibility of the investment options, and the investment manager's record of treating shareholders well. Alaska’s plan scored well in all categories.

The plan boasts over 17,000 accounts for Alaskans.  In 2005, almost 7,500 Alaska residents checked the box on their Permanent Fund Dividend application, making a contribution to the plan.
Investments in the UA College Savings Plan can be used at any eligible college or university nationwide.  For more information on the plan, click on www.uacollegesavings.com or call 1-888-4-Alaska.

For more information, call Linda English at 907/450-8115