State-Sponsored College 529 Plans: The Influence of Tax and Non-Tax Factors on Investors' Choice

37 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2005

See all articles by LeAnn Luna

LeAnn Luna

University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Business Administration - Center for Business and Economic Research

Raquel Meyer Alexander

Washington and Lee University

Date Written: January 31, 2005

Abstract

Taxpayers have invested over $45 billion in state-sponsored 529 college savings plans. Created by federal legislation in 1996 and enhanced by a 2001 tax law change, all 50 states and the District of Columbia now offer a 529 plan. States provide tax deductions and/or exemptions to taxpayers choosing in-state plans. Because of the lack of historical return data on these funds and the absence of comparable investment vehicles, investors rely extensively upon securities dealers for fund recommendations. Using proprietary panel data for 77 plans in 50 states over eight quarters, this paper compares tax and non-tax factors that drive 529 investment choices. This paper explains why an investor may choose an out-of-state 529 plan despite losing a potential state tax deduction. This paper also has policy implications for lifetime savings accounts proposed by the Bush administration.

Keywords: 529 plans, higher education, investor choice, tax subsidy

JEL Classification: M49, H24, H29, G24

Suggested Citation

Luna, LeAnn and Alexander, Raquel Meyer, State-Sponsored College 529 Plans: The Influence of Tax and Non-Tax Factors on Investors' Choice (January 31, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=657381 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.657381

LeAnn Luna

University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Business Administration - Center for Business and Economic Research ( email )

711 Stokely Management Center
Knoxville, TN 37996-4334
United States
865-974-6080 (Phone)
865-974-3100 (Fax)

Raquel Meyer Alexander (Contact Author)

Washington and Lee University ( email )

204 W Washington St
Lexington, VA 24450
United States

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