Montana 529 Plan And College Savings Options
Montana has a 529 plan called Achieve Montana that can help you save for college. Montana also has a 529 Able Plan as well.
If you live in Montana, these might be good options for you to save for college.
These programs are designed to help make college more affordable - so that you can get the education you need. By saving for college early on, you can make paying for college easier down the road.
If you're not quite sure how 529 plans work, check out this starter guide to What Is a 529 Plan?
There is also a specific order of operations to save for college that we recommend families follow. These programs are specific to the State of Montana. Each state has different rules when it comes to 529 plan savings.
Average Cost Of College In Montana
When saving for college in Montana, it's important to take into consideration the cost of attendance in the state. If you choose to go to an out-of-state school, you need to look at the average cost of attendance in that state.
There are 31 colleges and universities in the State of Montana.
The total average cost of college (Cost of Attendance) in Montana for in-state residents is $20,393 for 2020. This includes tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and other expenses.
For just tuition alone, the average undergraduate tuition for in-state residents is $5,282 for 2020. The cost of tuition in Montana has been rising at about 9% per year.
See how this compares to the average cost of college here. Keep in mind the average student loan debt by graduating class here.
Explore the data here.
Montana 529 Plan Tax Information
Tax savings is one of the big benefits of using a 529 plan to save for college. On a federal-level, there is no tax savings for contributions, but qualified distributions are tax-free.
Here are the special tax benefits and considerations for using a 529 plan in Montana.
Montana offers a state tax deduction for contributions to a Montana or Non-Montana 529 plan of up to $3,000 for single filers and $6,000 for married filing jointly tax filers.
Maximum: Accepts contributions until all account balances for the same beneficiary reach $396,000.
Rollovers into the state plan are allowed but not eligible for the tax deduction.
Outbound rollovers may be treated as non-qualified distributions and subject to taxes.
Qualified distributions from a Montana and non-Montana 529 plan are tax-free.
Montana does NOT conform with Federal law in regards to using a 529 plan for K-12 tuition. See this guide: Using a 529 Plan For Elementary and High School Private Education.
Montana does not conform with Federal law for using a 529 plan for student loans.
Non-Qualified Distributions Taxes, Penalties, Recapture
A non-qualified withdrawal from a Montana 529 is subject to the highest Montana tax rate on the full amount until all prior tax deductions are recaptured.
Montana 529 College Savings Plan Options
Montana has one 529 plan option - one consumer plan. They also have an old bank 529 plan that is no longer taking new enrollment but is still being serviced.
Achieve Montana 529 Plan
Achieve Montana is the name of Montana's 529 Plan. This plan offers a variety of investment options, including age-based portfolios that become more conservative as the child approaches college, and static investment fund options.
The funds offered include Vanguard and DFA.
There is a program management fee of 0.52%.
The underlying funds all charge expense ratios from 0.00% to 0.11% depending on the investment option.
Who Should Use It:
We recommend that both Montana and non-Montana residents open a plan elsewhere. Since Montana offers tax-parity (meaning you get the tax deduction no matter where you contribution), you can use the best plans in the nation or a service that makes 529 plans easy like CollegeBacker.
Montana 529 Able Plan Options
529A Able accounts are accounts designed to help those with disabilities escape poverty and save for themselves. Learn more about 529A Able Plans here.
The Montana Able Plan is a 529A plan open to all residents in Montana.
This plan allows contributions of up to $15,000 per year from all sources.
It does have a minimum initial contribution amount of $25 per account. The minimum subsequent contribution amount is $25.
The plan does have an account maintenance fee of $60 annually, assessed at $15 per quarter. It also has a program management fee of 0.32%.
You can open an Montana Able Plan here.
Other Programs To Save For College
A 529 plan is one way to save for college. Remember, we have a full guide on our approach to college savings here - and it helps you find other options.
If you're looking for ways to boost your college savings, check this out:
CollegeBacker is one of our favorite ways to save for college because they make gifting for college so easy. You can setup an account, link your 529 plan (in most states), and get a unique URL that you can share with friends and family to save for your children's college.
Plus, they have Backer Bucks, which allow you to earn rewards and rebates for the shopping you already do - directly deposited into your children's 529 plan.
Montana Financial Aid
Using a 529 plan isn't the only way to save money for college. Each state typically offers a variety of financial aid programs for their residents. These include scholarships and grants, and sometimes unique forgivable student loan opportunities.
Check out the list of Montana Student Loan and Financial Aid Programs.
Return to the full list of 529 Plans By State.