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Big Spikes in Vocational School Enrollment

This article about Vocational School Enrollment is presented by my529.


When 529 plan advocates encourage saving for higher education, they usually mean saving for college or university expenses. Vocational schools often—maybe too often—get overlooked.

That’s right. Vocational schools, which are experiencing big spikes in enrollment with their promise of well-paying careers, are eligible educational institutions where 529 funds can be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses. Money saved in a 529 plan can be used to pay expenses such as tuition, mandatory fees, books and even computers at any postsecondary institution—college, university, or vocational school—in the United States or abroad that participates in federal financial aid programs.

It’s true that a college education can provide a substantial earnings dividend. The gap in median annual income between a high school graduate and someone with a college degree is $19,550, according to 2010 Census Bureau data.

Despite the premium that a college degree can deliver, there are other ways to attain a viable career without the outlay of money and time required to earn a college degree. There are 29 million jobs that pay between $35,000 and $75,000 a year for workers without bachelor’s degrees, according to a joint study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and educational consultant Civic Enterprises.

The study found that career and technical education (CTE) jobs have largely shifted from blue-collar occupations to white-collar and health care fields.

“For both men and women, the best CTE jobs are in sub-baccalaureate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and health care, where over 80 percent of jobs pay middle-class wages,” according to the study’s authors.

The study contends that the nation’s career and technical education system, which includes vocational schools, “is the missing middle ground in American education and workforce preparation.”

Today, postsecondary certificates are the second most common higher educational achievement award after the bachelor’s degree, exceeding associate and master’s degrees, according to the study. About 1 million postsecondary certificates are awarded each year.

For more information about 529 plans, visit my529.org or call 800.418.2551.


Please Read. This Is Important.

Do not invest with my529 until you read the Program Description.

You can learn how the my529 college savings plan works. The Program Description explains the investment options, rules on contributions and withdrawals, tax benefits, fees, and risks. Your investment could lose value. Except for the FDIC-insured option, my529 investments aren’t guaranteed.

So take a look.

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Important Legal Notice

Investing is an important decision. Read the Program Description in its entirety for more information and consider all investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. The Program Description is available for download here, or a printed copy can be mailed to you by requesting it online atinfo@my529.org.

Account Value. The value of your my529 account may vary depending on market conditions and the performance of the my529 investment option you select. It could be more or less than the amount you contribute. In short, your investment could lose value.

However, my529 offers some investments insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which will guarantee that portion of your investment up to certain limits, as described below.

No Guarantees. Investments in my529 are not insured or guaranteed by my529, the Utah State Board of Regents, the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority or any other state or federal agency. Your investment could lose value. However, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance is provided for the FDIC-insured accounts. Please read the Program Description to learn about the FDIC-insured accounts. Units in my529 have not been registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or with any state securities commission.

FDIC Insurance. Except as described in this paragraph, investments in my529 are not insured by the FDIC. However, my529 offers an FDIC-Insured investment option. In addition, my529 offers investment options that include FDIC-insured accounts as underlying investments. FDIC insurance, up to applicable limits, is provided for the FDIC-insured accounts held in trust by my529 at Sallie Mae Bank and U.S. Bank National Association (U.S. Bank) (collectively Banks). Contributions to and earnings on the FDIC-insured accounts are allocated between the Banks according to the following percentages: Sallie Mae Bank (90 percent) and U.S. Bank (10 percent). Money in the FDIC-insured accounts is insured by the FDIC on a pass-through basis to each account owner at each Bank up to the maximum amount set by federal law, which is $250,000 at each Bank. The amount of FDIC insurance provided to an account owner is based on the total of (1) the value of an account owner’s investment in the FDIC-insured accounts at each Bank plus (2) the value of other accounts (if any) owned by the account owner and held at each Bank, as determined by the Banks and by FDIC regulations.

Non-Utah Taxpayers and Residents. The state in which you or your beneficiary pays taxes or lives may offer a 529 plan that provides state tax or other benefits, such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors, not otherwise available to you by investing in my529. You should consider such benefits, if any, before investing in my529.

Consult an advisor. my529 does not provide legal, financial, investment, or tax advice, and the information provided on this website does not contain legal, financial, investment, or tax advice and cannot be construed as such or relied upon for those purposes. You should consult your own tax or legal advisor to determine the effect of federal and state tax laws on your particular situation.

Morningstar rating. A Morningstar Analyst Rating for a 529 college savings plan is not a credit or risk rating. Analyst ratings are subjective in nature and should not be used as the sole basis for investment decisions. Morningstar does not represent its analyst ratings to be guarantees. Please visit Morningstar.com for more information about the analyst ratings, as well as other Morningstar ratings and fund rankings.

my529 does not pay commissions, loads, or sales charges to financial advisors, nor does it endorse financial advisors.