CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s SMART529 college savings program is marking a milestone by passing the $2 billion mark for financial assets.

“No one ever dreamed that we were going to have a $2 billion program in the state of West Virginia,” said state Treasurer John Perdue on Friday.  “I really believe that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I think this is really starting to catch on.”

With the SMART529 program, West Virginians receive a tax deduction for their contributions and distributions from accounts are tax-exempt as long as they are applied toward eligible education expenses, like tuition or room and board.

“The flexibility of this program is unbelievable. It’s a win-win.  Your child may not decide to go to college, but they may decide later on or they may have children and you can transfer it to your children,” said Perdue.  “It’s a great opportunity.”

Perdue said about 27,000 West Virginia families account for just a portion of the more than 100,000 total participants in the program since enrollment does not require West Virginia residency or West Virginia university or college attendance.

Administered through the Hartford Life Insurance Company, the SMART529 college savings program was first introduced in West Virginia in 2002.  It reached the $1 billion mark in 2007.

More information about the program is available at

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  • Mason County Contrarian

    I read the "fine print" on the application years ago. This money is, as usual, sent out of our state and deposited elsewhere. It is nothing but an out-of-state savings account with a fancy title.

    As a parent, I suggest placing your money in a savings account here at home rather than follow the so-called "SMART" plan.

    Read the "fine print".