NU Online News Service, Jan. 25, 2005, 5:20 p.m. EST

Assets in 529 college savings plans increased to $45 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2004, up from $40 billion a year earlier.[@@]

The College Savings Foundation, Washington, has published the latest asset total in a report based on data from Financial Research Corp., Boston.

FRC bases its 529 plan statistics on survey responses from companies that collect about one-third of 529 plan assets.

Professionally managed “age-based portfolios” of mutual funds held 69% of 529 plan assets, and fixed-income portfolios held 24% of assets, according to FRC researchers. Plan owners have invested only 6.9% of the plan assets in individual mutual funds.

About 40% of the 529 plan assets were invested in no-load funds or no-load portfolios.