College Savings Enhancements

Updated July 12, 2018

For the past 18 years, the Oregon College Savings Plan has been dedicated to helping Oregon families achieve their college savings goals. We take the trust you have placed in us very seriously and work hard to make the Oregon College Savings Plan the best and easiest way for you to save for higher education expenses. With that in mind, we are thrilled to inform you about the enhancements we are making in the next several months. These improvements are designed to enrich and streamline your online experience and improve the Plan’s investment options. Read a letter sent to account owners by clicking here.

1. What’s changing?

The Oregon College Savings Plan will begin working with Sumday Administration, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BNY Mellon, as its new financial partner. We want to provide the best opportunities for our members and our partnership with Sumday will allow us to have the investment lineup we feel best fits our savers, a more intuitive online experience and the ability to innovate in the future.

2. Why are you switching financial partners?

TIAA has been our financial partner for 8 years and it has been a solid and fruitful partnership. Just last year, contributions increased by 14%, qualified withdrawals by 15.2% and new accounts by 12.4% with their help. However, a lot has changed in the industry during that time. There are new tools and technologies out there that Oregonians could benefit from. Switching financial partners will allow us to provide better customer service, more robust investment options and innovative technology.

3. When is this happening?

The switch will happen in early September. There will be a few days when you won’t have access to your account. We will make sure to give you ample notice so you can plan accordingly.

4. Are my fees increasing?

No, fees will remain the same. This new partnership will allow us to lower fees at a faster rate than we could have previously. Current annual asset-based fees range between .27% and .7% depending on the investment option you choose. You can learn more about our current fees at https://www.oregoncollegesavings.com/research/fees.shtml.

5. What kind of funds will my money be going into?

Your money will predominantly be in Vanguard index mutual funds.  You will be transitioned into the portfolio option that most closely matches your current portfolio.

6. What does this mean for me?

This switch will ultimately make it easier for you to save for your higher education goals. What changes will you notice?

We will be designing a new mobile-friendly and ADA-compliant website. It will be much easier for you to access your account from your phone or tablet.

We will be building an enhanced online gifting platform that will allow you to create a private webpage you can send to friends and family so they can contribute to your account online.

We will now be able to offer a variety of investment funds, including more Vanguard index funds and an FDIC-insured cash option, which were previously not available to us.

We will be switching from an age-based portfolio to a target-date portfolio. Instead of entering a student’s age, you will enter the date you expect them to go to college. If that date changes because they skip a grade or enter the military, you just change the date you expect them to go and the investments will be adjusted. We expect this change will make the plan more accessible for non-traditional students, graduate students and adult learners, as well as families.

7. Do I need to do anything?

Please make sure the contact information you gave us is current. This way you’ll be sure to receive all of our communications regarding the conversion. We will give you ample notice if you need to do anything. The conversion itself will be virtually seamless and is being done to improve your plan.

8. Can I still add money?

Absolutely! A lot of work will be going on behind the scenes, but you shouldn’t notice a difference until it’s time for the switch to take place. Once that happens, you will have a new website and your current investment options will be populated with enhanced investment funds that have similar levels of risk as your current ones. Until then, everything is business as usual. Accounts can still be opened, deposits can still be made and withdrawals can still be taken.

9. Will I still have access to my money? Will there be any days when I don’t have access to my account/money?

Yes, until we go live, everything will be business as usual on your end. When the switch happens, there will be a few days when you won’t have access to your account. We are working to make sure these days are kept to a minimum. We will make sure to give you advance notice of when this will occur so that you can plan ahead. After the switch, you can access your funds the same way you always did – at www.OregonCollegeSavings.com or by calling 866-772-8464.

10. Where is my money going with the new investment options?

The investment options you are using will be made up of new investment funds that have similar levels of risk as your current ones. The majority of the portfolios are made up of Vanguard index funds.

We will be switching from an age-based portfolio to a target-date portfolio. Instead of entering a student’s age, you will enter the date you expect them to go to college. If that date changes because they skip a grade or enter the military, you just change the date you expect them to go and the investments will be adjusted. The new portfolio will work similarly: as the student gets closer to college, the investment automatically transitions into a more conservative investment mix.

11. What if I don’t like the new investment options you put my money in, can I move it? Will that use up one of my twice yearly options to move funds?

When your money is moved into the new investment options, it does not count against one of your two investment allocations for the year. If you want to move your money after the switch has happened, you can use one of your twice yearly transfers.

12. Will there be a socially responsible portfolio option?

Yes, we will have a socially responsible portfolio option.

13. Will the new investment line-up include index funds?

Yes, the new investment line-up will consist of predominantly Vanguard index funds.  You will be transitioned into the portfolio option that most closely matches your current portfolio.

14. Will my account number change? Will I get a statement after the conversion with my new account information?

Your account number will not change except for one letter attached to the beginning.  We will let you know that the transition is complete.  A statement will be generated and sent at conversion.  This is in addition to the quarterly statement you’ll receive in October.

15. Will my account history still be available?

The current year and previous two years of statements and tax forms (PDF) will be easily accessible from your online account. Older statements and tax forms will be kept on file with Sumday. You’ll be able to call 866-772-8464 to request access to them.  We suggest you download any statements or tax forms you want easily accessible before September.

16. I automatically deposit money from my bank account into the Oregon College Savings Plan. Will I have to do something different?

It depends.  If you selected automatic deposits from the Oregon College Savings Plan system you do not need to do a thing.  If you set up the automatic deposits through your bank (Bill Pay) then your contributions will need to be sent using a new routing number. We will update you with the information you will need once that is available.

17. I send contributions straight from my paycheck. Does my employer need to do something different?

Yes, your contributions will need to be sent using a new routing number. We will update you with the information your employer will need once that is available.

18. Can I keep withdrawing money while this is happening?

Yes! Everything is business as usual until a switch is flipped and the changes go live in early September. There will be a few days when you won’t have access to your account. We will make the switch during a time when, historically, account owners have not been making large withdrawals for college. We will also make sure to give you ample notice of the days you will be unable to make withdrawals so that you can plan accordingly.

19. What exactly is a financial partner?

The state of Oregon (through the Oregon Savings Network) works with a financial partner to manage the Oregon College Savings Plan. The financial partner provides administrative services, keeps track of records, protects data and manages investments. The Oregon Savings Network and Oregon 529 Savings Board oversees the financial partners’ work, creates and implements the vision for the plan and provides outreach and education about the plan.

20. Who is Sumday?

Sumday is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BNY Mellon, the oldest bank in the country. They have lots of experience managing 529, ABLE and retirement plans. In fact, Sumday is managing the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan which helps people with disabilities save money without losing their benefits. They’ve led the way in building a mobile-friendly and ADA-compliant website, launching an online live chat feature and offering a prepaid card so users have direct access to their accounts. To see an example of their work, go to www.oregonABLEsavings.com

21.  What was the process like for choosing a new financial partner?

We engaged in an open and competitive process to choose a new financial partner. All of the finalists provided very competitive applications. At the end of the day, Sumday blew us away with their passion and track record of innovation.

 

Have other questions? Give us a call at 503-373-1903.