Delaware college savings plan upgraded by ratings agency

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The Morningstar rating group has upgraded the DE529 Education Savings Plan from bronze to silver status.

That rating should help get more parents participating in the plan, an area where the college plan lagged some of its peers, due to a lack of tax incentives.

“Delaware earns an Above Average Parent rating driven by its multiple layers of oversight and engaged partners. The state’s 11-member plans management board, two subcommittees, and an external investment consultant review any recommended changes to the plan,” according to the report.

Delaware also saw an increase in its People Pillar score, a rating measuring the strength and weakness of an investment team. Morningstar noted, “It’s a topnotch group in the 529 space worthy of a People Pillar upgrade to high from above average.” The DE529 Education Savings Plan is managed by Fidelity Investments.

“We have seen tremendous growth in our 529 plan over the past year,” said Delaware State Treasurer Colleen Davis. “With this ratings upgrade, continued quality oversight by the Plans Management Board, and superior plan management by Fidelity Investments, we expect to grow even more with hopes of reaching Gold status in the future.”

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As of September 30, 2023, there were 2,149 new DE529 accounts opened this year, an increase of 41% over the same time last year.

Of the 54 529 plans offered throughout the country, only two have gold status with just 15 more achieving silver.

“We are thrilled to have our rating boosted by Morningstar,” said Donna Vieira, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Sallie Mae who serves as Chair of the Delaware Plans Management Board, the entity that oversees the state’s investment programs. “Saving for college is an important step, and families should feel good knowing that industry experts see the DE59 Education Savings Plan as a sound investment and a safe place for their money.”

“There is no doubt the state’s commitment to the plan, including the General Assembly approving tax incentives for contributions to DE529 accounts helped grow our numbers and lead to our upgrade” Davis said.

Click here to read “Morningstar’s ratings.

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