Guaranteed Savings Plan

How the PA 529 GSP Works

The PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan lets you save for tomorrow's college expenses at today's plan rates – without worrying about the ups and downs of the stock market. If you save enough for a semester at one of the state universities today, you'll have enough for a semester at that school in the future – no matter when or how much post-secondary tuition has gone up in the meantime.

The Pennsylvania Treasury Department does the investing work for you, placing money in the GSP Fund, a separate fund established for the PA 529 GSP by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Regardless of how these investments perform, your account growth, when used for qualified college expenses, is based on post-secondary tuition increases. This means that the Fund, not you, assumes the risk for covering post-secondary tuition inflation increases. Any growth is subject to a maturity period.*

You can also use your GSP account to pay for tuition up to $10,000 at elementary and secondary public, private, or religious schools.

How Much Should I Save? The PA 529 GSP helps you know how much you need to save for higher education, and how close you are to your goal, by choosing a tuition level when you enroll. You may choose from five different levels, including Pennsylvania community colleges, state universities and private colleges.

But you're not locked in – you can change the tuition level at any time. Whenever a change is made, your contributions are recalculated as if the new tuition level had been in effect since you opened your account. Most often the recalculation will change both your earnings rate and the dollar value of your account available to pay for qualified education expenses.

GSP Tuition Credits. Each time you make a contribution, it's divided by the GSP credit rate for the tuition level you've selected, and the number of GSP credits accumulates. For most four-year colleges, 96 GSP credits will cover four years of tuition; for community colleges, you would generally need 60 GSP credits for an associate degree. For example, if you saved enough for six GSP credits each year at one tuition level, in 16 years you would have 96 GSP credits at that tuition level – enough to cover four years of tuition on average. Some GSP credit rates include a premium to make sure the fund can meet its obligations. See current GSP Credit Rates for each tuition level.

*In order for the growth on contribution to be used for qualified withdrawals, a "maturity period" ranging from approximately nine months to approximately eighteen months must elapse from the date that the contribution was made to the time the contribution was withdrawn to pay qualified education expenses. Please see the PA 529 GSP Disclosure Statement for more information.

Features & Benefits

The PA 529 GSP helps families save for education in a way that works for them.

Easy to set up. You can open an account with as little as $10 and make minimum contributions of $10 whenever you want. Payroll deduction and automatic investing plans make saving even easier. Either the account owner or the beneficiary must be a Pennsylvania resident at the time the account is opened.

Use your account at most schools. You can use your PA 529 to pay for most higher education expenses at many colleges, universities and community colleges, as well as graduate, career and technical schools in the U.S. and abroad. You can also use your PA 529 at elementary or secondary public, private, or religious schools. Visit to see eligible post-secondary schools.

Pay for more than just tuition. Qualified higher education expenses include tuition, certain room and board costs, required books and supplies, fees and special needs services. For students in K-12 schools, you can use your PA 529 GSP account to pay for tuition. See Qualified K-12 Education Expenses and Qualified Higher Education Expenses, below.

Qualified K-12 Education Expenses

As defined by the Internal Revenue Code, qualified K-12 education expenses include tuition up to $10,000 at elementary or secondary public, private, or religious schools.

Qualified Higher Education Expenses

As defined by the Internal Revenue Code, qualified higher education expenses include tuition, room and board (with certain limitations), required books, required supplies, required equipment, including computers, mandatory fees and special needs services.

Access your account. Manage your account securely online anytime or call the PA 529 GSP to speak to a savings specialist at 1-800-440-4000.

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

It's affordable. Contributions as low as $10 can be made online at any time. You can also set up an automatic contribution from your bank or by payroll deduction (if available). You may also contribute by checks or money order.

Low fees. An account maintenance fee of 0.10% is deducted quarterly (approximately 0.40% per year, capped at $500 annually). The fee may be reduced to 0.075% quarterly (approximately 0.30% per year, capped at $250 annually) by selecting to receive all account statements and notices via email. The fee may be paid separately to maintain account balances and GSP credits.

How Much Should I Save?

Average Tuition Levels Actual Credit Rate Actual Semester Rate GSP Credit Rate GSP Semester Rate
Community College
2018-2019 $133.45 Not applicable $133.45 Not applicable
2013-2014 $111.16 Not applicable $111.16 Not applicable
PA State System of Higher Education*
2018-2019 $321.50 $3,858.00 $321.50 $3,858.00
2013-2014 $275.92 $3,311.04 $275.92 $3,311.04
State-Related University
2018-2019 $704.23 $8,450.76 $704.23 $8,450.76
2013-2014 $635.17 $7,622.04 $654.23** $7,850.76**
Private 4-year College
2018-2019 $1,467.00 $17,604.00 $1,467.00 $17,604.00
2013-2014 $1,267.89 $15,214.68 $1,267.89 $15,214.68
Ivy League University
2018-2019 $2,178.80 $26,145.60 $2,178.80 $26,145.60
2013-2014 $1,800.44 $21,605.28 $1,800.44 $21,605.28

*Does not include East Stroudsburg University, Millersville University, Shippensburg University, Mansfield University, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
**Included a 3% premium.
This chart shows some of the most popular actual and GSP tuition rates now and 5 years ago. You can see today's costs as well as the growth at each level. For example, if a contribution of $7,850.76 (the GSP semester credit rate) at the State-Related University Average tuition level had been made 5 years ago it would be worth $8,450.76 (the actual semester rate) now. (Past performance is not an indication of future results.)

Not everyone can save enough to cover the full cost of college. But whatever you save now will reduce what you have to pay or borrow later.

The Guarantee of the GSP. When you use your account for qualified expenses, the growth on your contributions is based on post-secondary tuition increases, not on the GSP Fund's investment performance. The tuition level when your account is used (pay-out tuition level) determines your account value. For more information about the guarantee and how your account grows, please read the PA 529 GSP Disclosure Statement.

Connect With Us

Phone: 800-440-4000


PA 529 College and Career Savings Program
613 North Drive | Room G-06
Harrisburg, PA 17120