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Thought Leadership Thursday

One Year Anniversary of Overseeing Arizona’s 529 Plan

Kimberly Yee

Thought Leadership Thursday Article

One Year Anniversary of Overseeing Arizona’s 529 Plan
September 23, 2021
Hon. Kimberly Yee
Treasurer
State of Arizona
Dear Colleagues,
While the majority of State Treasurers around the country have been administering their state's 529 College Savings Plan for years, Arizona’s 529 Plan had been tucked away for more than 20 years in an unassuming governmental commission office unknown to most Arizona families.  With my Administration's focus on Financial Education and expanding the awareness of money management statewide, it was critical for the AZ529 Plan to be transferred and housed in the Arizona State Treasurer's Office.
With nearly one year behind me of overseeing the AZ529 Plan, I am excited to report that my Office has made significant progress in encouraging Arizonans from every corner of the state to save for future education.
As the new AZ529 Plan Administrator, my vision is to bring 529 Plans to every zip code, especially to families who may not otherwise think about college or other post-high school education or training. Every child deserves the best education that positions them for success and opportunities in life. Arizona is home to many diverse communities, and it is crucial that awareness of the AZ529 Plan and its benefits reaches those citizens.
As part of my Office’s outreach efforts, we have widely marketed the AZ529 Plan, reaching not only families, including parents, grandparents and individuals who are interested in pursuing post-high school education, but we've also reached non-profit groups that help low income families, at-risk women, Veterans, and government employees at the state level and federal level, such as the Navajo Nation.   
It was also important to modernize the AZ529 Plan’s brand, simplify the messaging, and effectively market the Plan to residents across the state. The AZ529 Plan’s name was changed from "AZ529, Arizona Family College Savings Program" to "AZ529, Arizona’s Education Savings Plan." This update was crucial to accurately reflect the Plan and its various uses as an education savings vehicle, not just for traditional college, but for vocational programs as well.
Our statewide marketing efforts include radio, television, behavioral targeting, local education events, and social media ads in both English and Spanish. Most recently, with help from our Navajo Nation partners, we have also translated the AZ529 Plan brochure into the Navajo language.
I also realized that for this Plan to get traction, I needed the support of Arizona’s education community. That is why I appointed the new statewide AZ529, Arizona’s Education Savings Plan Advisory Committee to assist the Treasurer’s Office in promoting and raising awareness of the AZ529 Plan. The Advisory Committee members are subject-matter experts in multiple important facets of education and civic leadership, including urban and rural colleges, public and private schools and universities, vocational training, and apprenticeship programs. Their recommendations have been vital for the growth of the Plan.
As of this July, AZ529 had more than 95,000 accounts and $2 billion in assets under management. With my Office’s extensive outreach efforts, these numbers have seen strong growth. In fact, since I took over the AZ529 Plan nearly one year ago, we have added over 11,000 new accounts and have grown account assets by 23%. That means more savings for children to achieve their education and career goals.
The transfer of the AZ529 Plan has opened a new chapter for the Arizona Treasurer’s Office, bringing with it an opportunity to help Arizonans realize their educational aspirations through dedicated investments and savings. Our statewide marketing campaign and partnerships with key strategic allies, have encouraged Arizonans of all backgrounds from across the state to open an AZ529 Plan account. Arizona families deserve the best educational options, from workforce training to traditional college education, and the AZ529 Plan helps make those options a reality.
Respectfully,

Hon. Kimberly Yee
Treasurer of the State of Arizona
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