Montana 529 Plan F.A.Q.

The information represented in this F.A.Q. is not meant for, nor should it be used as, the basis for any investment decisions. We suggest you speak with an investment professional before investing in a 529 plan.

Frequently Asked Questions about Montana's 529 College Savings Plan

What is a 529 plan?
Why should I invest in a 529 plan?
Does Montana have a 529 plan?
Who manages Achieve Montana?
What are my investment options with Achieve Montana?
What are the advantages of Achieve Montana?
Am I only allowed to invest in Achieve Montana?
What are the fees associated with Achieve Montana?
Does Achieve Montana charge any type of account maintenance fee?
What options do I have for purchasing shares in Achieve Montana?
How can I contribute to my account?
As an employer, how do I make payroll deductions available for my employees?

What is a 529 plan?

A 529 plan is a tax advantaged college savings vehicle, named after section 529 of the internal revenue code. With a 529 plan, contributions into an account are allowed to grow tax free, while at the same time allowing for tax free disbursements when the funds are used to pay for schooling at any accredited institution worldwide. 529 plans are sponsored by a state’s government and are usually managed by a program administrator. Most states offer tax incentives for resident investors who contribute to 529 plans.

Why should I invest in a 529 plan?
As college costs continue to rise, a 529 college savings plan is one of the best mechanisms available to families to pay for college. By combining a well thought-out investment strategy with the tax advantages offered by many states, a 529 college savings account is an outstanding way to cover the cost of college.

Does Montana have a 529 plan?
Yes, Montana has its own 529 plan, Achieve Montana, and offers two kinds of investment options, an Age-Based option and Individual Portfolios. Choose either or both approaches that meet your time horizon, risk tolerance and investment style.

Who manages Achieve Montana?
The Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education (the program trustee) has contracted with Ascencus College Savings to serve as the program manager of Montana’s 529 plan.

What are my investment options with Achieve Montana?
Achieve Montana, and offers two kinds of investment options, an Age-Based option and Individual Portfolios. Unlike the Age-Based Option, however, the Individual Portfolios do not change the types and composition of investments as your beneficiary ages. Instead, the types and composition of investments remains fixed over time.  Choose either or both approaches that meet your time horizon, risk tolerance and investment style.

What are the advantages of Achieve Montana?
There are several reasons to invest in Montana's 529 plan:

  • Contributions you make to an Achieve Montana account may be eligible as a yearly deduction from adjusted gross income of up to $3,000 per taxpayer per year ($6,000 for those married, filing jointly), in computing Montana state income tax. 1
  • By investing with Achieve Montana you can maintain a college savings plan with low fees.
  • It only takes $25 to open an account ($15 with payroll direct deposit, where available)
  • You can manage your account online, including making contributions, reallocations, and qualified withdrawals, update account information, and more.

Am I only allowed to invest in Achieve Montana?
Montana residents may invest in any state 529 plan they choose.

What are the fees associated with Achieve Montana?

Age-Based Option & Individual Portfolios

Age of Beneficiary

Underlying Portfolio

Cost/Fees

0 – 4

    Aggressive Portfolio

0.80%

5 – 10

    Growth Portfolio

0.81%

11-14

    Moderate Portfolio

0.82%

15 – 17

    Conservative Portfolio

0.82%

18+

    Income Portfolio

0.83%

Does Achieve Montana charge any type of account maintenance fee?
Achieve Montana accounts are charged a $25 annual maintenance fee. However, the fee is waived for any account owner who is a Montana resident, anyone who uses an automatic investment plan (AIP) or payroll deduction, or for any account with a balance of $25,000 or more.

What options do I have for purchasing shares in Achieve Montana?
Achieve Montana shares are direct sold only, so investors will need to contact Achieve Montana directly by calling 877-486-9271 or by visiting www.achievemontana.com

How can I contribute to my account?
Contributions to your 529 account may be made by the following means:

  1. Payment by check, the first of which must include a minimum initial investment of $25.00.
  2. Payment through automatic withdrawal from a bank account. This is a preauthorized agreement between you and the program manager to automatically withdraw a set amount per month from your bank account and deposit it into your 529 account. Payment by this means waives the initial investment.
  3. Payment through payroll deduction is also available if such a service is offered by your employer. Check with your employer to see if payroll deduction services are offered. Payment by this means waives the initial investment.

As an employer, how do I make payroll deductions available for my employees?
Employers interested in offering payroll deductions should contact Achieve Montana at 877-486-9271.

 

1 Contributions to an Achieve Montana account owned by the taxpayer, the taxpayer's spouse or the taxpayer's child or stepchild (if the child or stepchild is a Montana resident at the time of the contribution) are deductible in computing Montana adjusted gross income for the tax year in which they are made. Contributions may be subject to recapture in certain circumstances, such as a non-qualified withdrawal or a withdrawal or distribution from an account that was opened within three years prior to the date of the withdrawal or distribution (Recaptured Withdrawal). If the account owner is no longer a Montana resident at the time of a Recaptured Withdrawal, the Program Manager or its service provider may withhold the potential recapture tax from a Recaptured Withdrawal.

 

Home        Privacy & Security       Accessibility        Contact Us       State Authorization       Search       Site Index

Montana University System • Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
2500 Broadway Street • PO Box 203201 • Helena, MT 59620-3201 • 406-444-6570

Copyright 2016 Montana University System. All Rights Reserved.