CSF monitors federal and state legislative developments relating to 529 plans and keeps its members informed of all relevant policy developments. CSF members regularly meet with key federal legislators (from both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate) and their staffs to discuss a broad range of federal issues which are of interest to 529 plan investors and the industry and to advocate for sound policies that foster and support 529 savings programs. CSF is also a resource for federal and state policymakers – providing information on the realities of the 529 plan marketplace, relaying data on the plans and who uses them, and assisting with technical advice in crafting legislation affecting 529 plans. CSF also appears at hearings before relevant congressional and state legislative committees of jurisdiction as an expert voice on college savings issues.
CSF is conducting extensive outreach to the public and policymakers about the importance of establishing and maintaining a proactive plan for savings for higher education, using a variety of investment opportunities. We have been successful in positioning CSF – and by association our members – as thought leaders on the issues of helping American families save for their children’s college education. We sponsor briefings for reporters to educate them on 529 plan issues and to cultivate close relationships with key personal finance, business and education reporters. CSF frequently issues press releases promoting the use of 529 plans to enable families to fund higher and continuing education and comments on important public policy developments affecting 529 plans.
CSF is actively involved with federal and state regulators of 529 plans, including the United States Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. We comment on proposed regulations and other guidance that would affect 529 plans and provide input to regulators regarding key operational and compliance issues. One of CSF’s primary regulatory initiatives in 2008 was to comment on Treasury’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking under section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, and to meet with Treasury and IRS officials about the final shape of 529 regulations.
CSF has an active and ongoing data collection project in which we gather key data on 529 plans from member organizations every quarter. This project tracks such things as the number of accounts and beneficiaries and account balances and assets and produces an industry-leading data set. CSF members find this data set useful for a wide variety of both internal and external purposes. CSF disseminates this valuable information to policymakers at the federal and state level and releases it to the media on a quarterly basis.
CSF has created an Administrative Issues Committee dedicated to reducing the administrative burdens on consumers, financial advisors, broker-dealers, and program managers.
CSF works with other interested organizations that share our mission to foster and expand 529 college savings plans and education savings generally. From organizations representing state treasurers and other state officials involved in 529 programs to financial services industry trade associations and financial planning groups to higher education organizations, CSF coordinates and partners with all those who are interested in helping American families finance higher education through the continued success of 529 college savings plans.