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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

Prepaid Tuition Plan for Independent Colleges Approved

February 13, 2003

The Independent 529 Plan, a new prepaid college tuition plan tailored specifically for independent colleges, recently received its final regulatory approval under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. Earnings on investments will be tax-exempt. Independent U.S. colleges that participate in the program will honor the plan’s tuition certificates.

Unlike 529 college savings programs in which people invest contributions for later use when college is attended, Independent 529 Plan contributions represent the purchase of a portion of an independent college's tuition at today's prices, which will be accepted as payment when the student eventually attends an independent college.

According to Doug Brown, president of Tuition Plan Consortium (TPC)—the nonprofit group that will run the program—the benefit will be even greater, given that a participating independent college will also offer and guarantee a certificate discount on tuition for the year in question.

TPC is targeting the start of the plan—allowing the purchase of tuition certificates—for this summer. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. will administer the plan, and TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB, will manage its investments.