Oregon expands investment options in college savings program

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Oregon is expanding investment options available to state residents who enroll in a college savings program.

More than 100,000 Oregonians are enrolled in the 18-year-old Oregon College Savings Program. Those enrolled qualify for tax deductions and can make tax-free investments to save for college or career training.

The program, managed by the state treasurer, has more than $2 billion in assets as of March, according to the treasurer’s office. Enrollees can invest on their own through the program or through broker-sold mutual funds.

The Oregon 529 Savings Board, which oversees the program, approved a contract this week that will improve customer service and allow for more investment options, the treasurer’s office said in a news release.

Starting in September, enrollees can also invest in Vanguard mutual funds and an FDIC-insured conservative fund.

“More than ever, higher learning is an investment in a better future,” said State Treasurer Tobias Read, the chair of the Oregon 529 Savings Board. “With these exciting changes, we can help more Oregonians better pursue their education, career and financial goals.”

Read said he is pushing to have the program become more inclusive by expanding outreach to rural communities and minorities.

Students who open a college savings plan are three times more likely to pursue higher education and four times more likely to graduate, according to the treasurer’s office.

The changes come as part of a shift to a new administrator for the college saving plan, Sumday Administration LLC, a subsidiary of Bank of New York Mellon, which also administers Oregon’s disability savings program.

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