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College Savings Programs

Prepaid Affordable College Tuition (PACT) Program

PACT remains closed to enrollment as of December 31, 2008.

CollegeCounts 529 Fund

529 CollegeCounts Board Meetings:  

 Click here for CollegeCounts Scheduled Board  Meetings for 2010

Click here for CollegeCounts 529 Board Members

Program news - Alabama Selects New CollegeCounts 529 Program Manager

Van Kampen Investments, the current program manager of the CollegeCounts 529 Fund, has
served in this capacity since the program's inception in 2002. During this time, program assets
have grown to $660 million. Pending the upcoming contract expiration with Van Kampen, the
Board entered a multi-step, competitive search process. Several respondents were reviewed and
interviewed by the Board prior to the selection of Union Bank and Trust Company of Nebraska.
The transition to Union Bank and Trust Company will be seamless for investors, and is expected
to take place by late summer. Additional details and updates regarding the upcoming
enhancements and transition will be available to investors in the next several months.


Exciting News - Alabama 529 Savings Plan has a new name-CollegeCounts 529 Fund  

Trustworthy, memorable, strong and stable- these words describe the name CollegeCounts 529 Fund, according to research conducted in August.  CollegeCounts is a name with a clear positive message and we believe that rebranding from Alabama Higher Education 529 Fund to CollegeCounts 529 Fund is essential in continuing to establish the Alabama program as a strong, stable 529 savings option. The product is the same – just a new name and look.    Beginning September 14th, you will see CollegeCounts  television commercials and print ads. We hope you will find them “thought provoking”.

During the past year, the following were program enhancements:

  • Tax Incentive for College Savings. - Parents, grandparents, or any person making contributions to either a PACT or a CollegeCounts 529 Fund account can now claim up to a $5,000 tax deduction per taxpayer on their Alabama state income tax.  Please click here for Alabama Department of Revenue Guidelines.   
  • Computers as Qualified Expense. - The American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009 provides that computers and computer technology qualify as qualified educational expenses in 529 Educational Plans.  The computer provision will be effective for 2009-2010 only.  For more information, please click here.

The CollegeCounts 529 Fund is a flexible investing option to assist families in planning for the future education of a child or loved one.

The CollegeCounts 529 Fund allows individuals to participate in an investment program, managed by Van Kampen Investments, in which they may select from a number of professionally crafted investment strategies. The beneficiary of the account may be a child, adult or even the individual, himself. Withdrawals from the account can be used to pay for tuition, fees, books, room and board at any accredited college, trade or graduate school.  There is a direct-sold investment option available for Alabama residents that allows them to avoid upfront commissions and costs as well as the state administrative fee.  Enrollment is open year-round. After the initial deposit of $250, additional contributions may be made anytime.

To learn more about the program, review the chart below and visit the links or call us at 
(866) 529-2228 (CollegeCounts 529 Fund).
 


Use this chart to learn more about Alabama's college savings program - the CollegeCounts 529 Fund.

 

CollegeCounts 529 Fund

Contribution Limits

Maximum of up to $300,000.
As low as $25 - $250 to open an account.
As low as $25 per month.
 

Account Control

Account owner (not beneficiary).

Tax Benefits

Tax-deferred growth—your investment is exempt from annual 
federal income taxes.

Tax-exempt withdrawals—your qualified withdrawals are exempt 
from both Alabama state income taxes and federal income taxes.

You may claim up to a $5,000 state tax deduction per taxpayer 
on contributions.
 

Income Limitations

None.

Investment Options

Choose from three strategies:
Years to Enrollment Portfolios: with five time horizons and three 
risk tolerance levels. Portfolios automatically rebalance as 
the beneficiary’s time horizon changes.
Fixed Portfolios: 100% Equity; 100% Bonds; 50% Bonds/50% 
Cash.
Individual Fund Portfolios: Choose from stock and bond, stock, 
global, international and bond portfolios. The assets of each 
portfolio are invested entirely in a single underlying 
Van Kampen mutual fund.
 

Ability to Change Beneficiary

May transfer to another member of the beneficiary’s family.

Conditions for Use

Can be used toward tuition, room and board, books and fees 
at any accredited public or private college, trade or graduate 
school nationwide.
 

Financial Aid Considerations

Considered account owner's assets.
 

Gift and Estate Planning Benefits

Contribute up to $13,000 annually ($26,000 for married couples) 
on behalf of a beneficiary without having to file a gift-tax 
return or pay gift taxes.
 
Accelerate gifting—contribute five years of gifts in one year 
($130,000 for married couples) on behalf of a beneficiary.

Advantages

Professional investment management from

Van Kampen Investments.

No income restrictions.

Account owner retains control of assets.

Anyone can contribute to the account.


May transfer account to another member of the beneficiary’s 
family.

Penalty-free withdrawals for death, disability and scholarship.


The CollegeCounts 529 Fund “The Program” is sponsored by the State of Alabama.

An investment in the Program is not a bank deposit or insured or guaranteed and you could lose 
money if you participate in the Program.

For non-Alabama residents, favorable state tax treatment for investing in a Section 529 Plan may be limited to investment in your state’s plan. Van Kampen and the State of Alabama Treasurer’s Office, including Alabama State Treasurer Kay Ivey, do not offer tax and/or legal advice. Consult with your tax advisor.

Contact your financial advisor, or click here, for a Program Disclosure Statement and its Supplement, which include information on investment options, risk factors, fees, expenses, and possible tax consequences. Please read them carefully before investing.

The CollegeCounts 529 Fund is distributed by Van Kampen Funds Inc.


 


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