New Jersey 529 Plan And College Savings Options
New Jersey has a 529 plan called NJBEST that can help you save for college. New Jersey also has a 529 Able Plan as well.
If you live in New Jersey, 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 New Jersey. Each state has different rules when it comes to 529 plan savings.
Average Cost Of College In New Jersey
When saving for college in New Jersey, 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 170 colleges and universities in the State of New Jersey.
The total average cost of college (Cost of Attendance) in New Jersey for in-state residents is $19,254 for 2022. 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 $9,054 for 2022. The cost of tuition in New Jersey has been rising at about 2.4% 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.
New Jersey 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 New Jersey.
New Jersey will offer a state tax deduction of up to $10,000 per taxpayer, per year, for contributions to a New Jersey 529 plan. You must have a gross income of $200,000 per year or less.
You must be a New Jersey resident to contribute to a New Jersey 529 plan.
Matching Contributions: The New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority will provide a one-time grant of up to $750 in a dollar-for-dollar match of the account owner's initial deposit into the account, for New Jersey families with an annual household income under $75,000.
Maximum: Accepts contributions until all account balances for the same beneficiary reach $305,000.
New Jersey follows federal tax treatment.
Qualified distributions from a New Jersey and non-New Jersey 529 plan are tax-free.
New Jersey does 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.
New Jersey does conform with Federal law for using a 529 plan for student loans.
Non-Qualified Distributions Taxes, Penalties, Recapture
A non-qualified withdrawal from a New Jersey 529 is subject to federal tax laws.
New Jersey 529 College Savings Plan Options
New Jersey has several 529 plan options - one consumer plan and one plan that is sold by financial advisors (we're big advocates of doing-it-yourself, you don't need to pay a financial advisor for this).
NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan
The NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan is the name of New Jersey'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.
Note: the contributor or beneficiary must be a New Jersey resident to contribute to this plan.
The funds offered include Franklin Templeton.
There is a program management fee of 0.10%.
The underlying funds all charge expense ratios from 0.03% to 1.00% depending on the investment option.
Who Should Use It:
Given there are no tax deductions and limited investment choices, we recommend that New Jersey and non-residents look at other plans.
New Jersey 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 NJ ABLE Plan is a 529A plan open to all residents in New Jersey.
This plan allows contributions of up to $16,000 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 NJ 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:
Backer 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.
Upromise is another awesome tool to help you save for college because they have a lot of ways that you can earn money for your 529 plan. You can get rebates and rewards, and you can get cash back into your child's 529 plan by using the Upromise credit card.
New Jersey 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 New Jersey Student Loan and Financial Aid Programs.
Return to the full list of 529 Plans By State.