College is more expensive than ever. According to the U.S. Department of Education, tuition at four-year colleges has more than doubled over the past three decades.

In our scholarships department, we speak with a variety of stakeholders: donors, students, parents, high schools, universities and nonprofits, and postsecondary school affordability is a topic that continuously rises to the surface.

The Foundation is committed to helping students get into and graduate from college via direct scholarships, but we also like to provide additional information to families looking for other funding sources.

As such, we recently met with representatives from ScholarShare 529 to learn more about the Federal 529 College Savings Program.

Planning for the Future

529 plans are tax-advantaged savings plans designed to encourage saving for future college costs. Money from a 529 plan can be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for study at any accredited college, university, or vocational school in the United States and at some foreign universities.

The money can also be used for room and board, as long as the fund beneficiary is at least a half-time student.

Off-campus housing costs are covered up to the allowance for room and board that the college includes in its cost of attendance for federal financial-aid purposes.

Resource for Families

As the program administrators in California, ScholarShare 529 sums up the program and why it may be worth participating in.

What are the advantages of investing in a 529 program?

  1. Affordable
  • $25 to get started and $15 for payroll deduction – and a maximum contribution limit of $475,000 per beneficiary/account
  • No application fee, no transfer fee, no commission, no annual maintenance fee
  • Low fee investment portfolios. Average asset based fees across the Passive Investment Portfolio Options is 0.17%, with asset based fees for all of the Portfolio Options ranging from 0.0% to 0.59% depending on the investment portfolio selected
  1. Flexible
  • 19 investment options featuring leading institutional investment managers
  • Active & passive age-based portfolios, multi-fund asset allocation portfolios, single-fund portfolios, and a principal protected portfolio option
  1. Accessible
  • Easy online enrollment and online access through
  • Fully staffed sales and service center available at 800-544-5248

If you would like more information or want to start a plan, please contact ScholarShare at 800-544-5248.

Learn more

About Danielle Valenciano

Danielle ValencianoAs Director of Community Scholarships, Danielle and her team make higher education dreams a reality for hundreds of San Diego students each year. She serves donors who seek to support the educational aspirations of students and families who apply for scholarships each year. Danielle works closely with applicants to match their needs with funding opportunities, and taps the talents of the many volunteers who support the scholarship program.

Read more posts by Danielle