How the PA 529 IP Works

The PA 529 Investment Plan helps families save for college in a way that meets their needs and budget.

You control your PA 529 IP account, selecting from a list of 15 investment options from Vanguard, one of America's largest financial service companies. Funds range from conservative to balanced to aggressive in their investment approaches. How you invest is up to you.

Your return is based on the performance of the underlying funds, which include stocks, bonds and other investments, depending on the options you choose. Due to market conditions, your return could be higher or lower than the rate of tuition inflation.

Features & Benefits

  • Easy to set up. Anyone can open a PA 529 IP account with as little as $25 and make contributions of $25 or more whenever you want. Payroll deduction and automatic investing plans make saving even easier.

  • Use your account at most colleges and career schools. You can use your PA 529 at most colleges, universities and community colleges, as well as graduate, career and technical schools in the U.S. and abroad. Visit to see eligible schools.

  • Pay for more than just tuition. You can use your PA 529 IP account to pay for tuition, certain room and board costs, required books and supplies, fees and special needs services. See Qualified Higher Education Expenses.

  • Access your account. Manage your account securely online anytime or call the PA 529 IP to speak to a savings specialist at 1-800-440-4000. You can change beneficiaries, permissions and investment choices any time.

  • No income or residency restrictions. It doesn't matter what your income is or where you live. Any U.S. legal resident 18 and older can open a PA 529 IP account.

  • Anyone can contribute. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends can all help cover the cost of your child's college education.

  • It's affordable. The PA 529 IP has low fees that vary by investment option.

  • More ways to save. By signing up for free programs, such as Upromise, Ugift or SAGE Scholars Tuition Rewards, you can earn cash rewards and tuition discounts to make your college savings grow faster. See Additional Ways to Save.

  • Tax benefits. Put your money in… take a deduction. Watch it grow… tax deferred. Take it out… tax free. Saving with the PA 529 IP can reduce your taxes and insure your child's future. Learn more about income tax benefits and gift, estate and inheritance tax benefits.

Choose the Investments that Are Right for You

The PA 529 Investment Plan offers a choice of 15 investment options managed by The Vanguard Group: three age-based options and 12 individual funds, including a socially responsible equity portfolio. For more information, read the PA 529 IP Disclosure Statement.

View portfolio prices and performance.

Make investing simple with age-based options

You can simplify saving for college by selecting an investment option that automatically rebalances your asset mix at various stages of your child's life.

When you invest in an age-based fund, your assets are managed according to the age of your student and your risk tolerance, based on a series of investment portfolios that gradually change over time.

For younger beneficiaries, assets are placed in portfolios that invest in funds with higher concentrations of stocks. As the beneficiary ages, the assets are automatically shifted to more conservative funds that invest in bonds and short-term reserves to reduce your exposure to risk before you start making withdrawals.

Age based

Portfolios with higher concentrations in bonds and short-term investments tend to be less volatile than those with more stocks. Less volatile portfolios generally may not decline in value as much when markets decline, but also may not appreciate in value as much when markets go up. Investments in bonds are subject to interest rate, credit and inflation risk.

Build your own college savings plan

In addition to age-based options, you can choose among 12 individual portfolios that allow you to customize and manage your own college savings program.

Unlike age-based options, the balance of stocks and bonds will remain fixed until you make a change. As your beneficiary nears college age, you may choose to adjust your investments based on your goals and objectives.

Federal law allows you to transfer assets already in your account between investment options twice per calendar year. You can change the investment direction of future contributions at any time.

Blended Stock and Bond Portfolios


100% Bond and Short-Term Investment Portfolios

Single fund

100% Stock Portfolios

Short term

As a PA 529 IP account owner, you own units of your chosen investment portfolio, not shares of the plan's underlying investments.

Plan News & Updates

  • About The Vanguard Group. The Vanguard Group serves as investment manager for the Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan.

    Three words – trust, value, and commitment – describe why millions of investors have made Vanguard their financial home since its founding more than 30 years ago. Vanguard is well known for its dedication to seeking outstanding performance, superior service and low costs. Vanguard is also client-owned, so it makes every decision with only its shareholders' investment needs in mind. Because Vanguard is committed to keeping costs at the lowest reasonable levels, more of your investment returns can keep working for you.

Enrollment Guide >>

Disclosure Statement >>

PA 529 Annual Report (web version) >>

Contact Us




Glossary of Terms

Learn about financial lingo

Before investing, please carefully read the PA 529 IP Disclosure Statement to learn more about the plan including investment objectives, risks, fees, and tax implications of the PA 529 IP.

Investment returns are not guaranteed and you could lose money by investing in the PA 529 Investment Plan.