CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue and The Hartford announced significant fee reductions to the SMART529 WV Direct Plan Wednesday, making it among the least expensive in the country.
Investors with the SMART529 WV Direct Plan will see fee cuts that range from a 15 percent to 76 percent reduction, depending on the portfolio selected.
“I take great pride in our commitment to providing a high quality investment plan at the lowest cost,” said Treasurer Perdue. “This makes it even easier and more affordable for all West Virginia families to save for higher education. Saving through SMART529 WV Direct has never been more important than it is now, and with these fee cuts, never more economical.”
One of the largest reductions, which cut fees by .23%, is in the WV Direct Plan’s popular newborn to eight-year-old portfolio. That represents roughly a three-quarters cut, or 74 percent. All 12 portfolios in SMART529 WV Direct experienced fee reductions. All changes were effective as of February 1.
Even before fee reductions, WV Direct offered several advantages. It does not require a minimum starting contribution; does not mandate subsequent contributions of any certain amount; and offers state and federal tax benefits.
“Our staff and team of investment consultants routinely review SMART529 funds and suggest changes to ensure there are attractive options for every investor,” Perdue said.
SMART529 offers three plans, including WV Direct. In all, SMART529 has attracted approximately 120,000 investors from across the country, 30,000 of whom are state residents.
In the last two fiscal years, West Virginia residents have accounted for more than half of the new enrollments to SMART529 plans.
The success, in part, is due to continued outreach and education efforts, particularly the program’s “Bright Babies” promotion, open only to state residents. Bright Babies gives parents a free, no-strings-attached $100 to jump-start a college savings account if they enroll the child in SMART529 before his or her first birthday or the first anniversary of adoption.
Savingforcollege.com, the leading website for rating college savings plans, gives SMART529 WV Direct its highest rating, a “five-cap” designation.
For more information on the SMART529 program, contact the State Treasurer’s Office at 304.558.5000 or log onto www.SMART529.com.