May 08, 2023

May is 529 Month

NextGen 529® Offers Significant Benefits to Maine People and is a Leading Plan in the Nation 

AUGUSTA—May is 529 month, which is a great time to remind Maine people of NextGen 529’s many robust benefits. 

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) administers NextGen 529, providing an opportunity for investors, including Maine residents, to save for eligible education expenses while realizing potential tax advantages. It is one of the largest 529 plans in the nation and was recently recognized as one of the best in the nation on

With 529 plans like NextGen 529, earnings have the opportunity to grow and withdrawals are federal and Maine state income tax-free when used for qualified education expenses. And, new for 2023, a benefit for Maine taxpayers, contributions to any 529 plan, up to $1,000 per student (designated beneficiary) may be eligible for a Maine state income tax deduction.

Accounts can be set up for any child or grandchild, friend or relative regardless of income, residency, or the age of the beneficiary. 529 plans can be used to pay for all kinds of education—four-year college, two-year associate degree programs, trade schools, apprenticeship programs, even qualified online courses—at home or abroad. In addition, 529 plans can be used to pay for up to $10,000 per year in K-12 tuition at eligible elementary or secondary schools. 

NextGen 529’s generous matching grants program can boost Mainers’ education savings. FAME provides a $100 Initial Matching Grant to eligible Maine NextGen 529 accounts upon opening. There is also a one-time $100 grant to eligible Maine NextGen 529 accounts with qualifying automatic contributions made directly from a bank account or via payroll deduction. And the Next Step Matching Grant is a 30%, up to $300 matching grant that can be earned each year. FAME has invested over $53 million in grant funds to Maine accounts. 

FAME also administers the $500 Alfond Grant. Thanks to the generosity of the late Maine philanthropist, Harold Alfond, the Alfond Scholarship Foundation gives all children born Maine residents since January 1, 2013 a jump-start on saving for college. The Alfond Grant is a $500 grant for eligible Maine resident babies to be used for future higher education expenses. The Alfond Scholarship Foundation has invested nearly $70 million in grant funds for more than 145,000 Maine children and more than 51,000 of those kids have a NextGen 529 account. 

Higher education can lead to a better job and better pay. Parents, relatives, and even friends can give a child more options when it is time for higher education by planning for future education expenses. To explore investment options and learn more about the details of 529 plans, visit FAME’s College Savings Guide at

“Having two kids at once was a pretty big surprise,” said Cory Schnaible, South Portland resident. “But opening a NextGen 529 account gave us a solid foundation for their education. It also, 9 years down the line, has given the girls a sense of responsibility and a passion for learning. Watching them think about their futures and set goals for themselves has been truly awesome. The peace of mind that comes with knowing money is being invested into whatever kind of education they want to chase after high school is pretty great, too.”

FAME CEO Carlos Mello invests in NextGen 529 for his grandchildren and said, “Please consider opening and contributing to a NextGen 529 account and help make your student’s higher education dream a reality.”

About FAME:

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is a quasi-independent state agency celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023. We provide innovative financial solutions to help Maine citizens pursue business and educational opportunities. FAME helps to lead the creation of good paying jobs for Maine citizens by working at the nexus between economic and workforce development. To learn more about FAME, please visit

About Grants for Maine Residents: 

Grants for Maine residents are linked to eligible Maine accounts. Upon withdrawal, grants are paid only to institutions of higher education. Grants may lose value. See Terms and Conditions of Maine Grant Programs for details about eligibility and other conditions and restrictions that apply at

About the Alfond Grant: 

Prior to 2013, the $500 Alfond Grant was available on a more limited basis from 2008-2012. The Alfond Grant is not automatic in all circumstances and is also available in limited other circumstances. The Alfond Grant may be linked to an eligible NextGen 529 account. Upon withdrawal, the grant is paid only to institutions of higher education. The use of the Alfond Grant is also subject to certain restrictions–see Alfond Grant Guidelines available at

About NextGen 529:

NextGen 529 is a Section 529 plan administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). FAME helps Maine students and families meet the costs associated with higher education through loan, grant, and scholarship programs. FAME also oversees an extensive outreach and counseling program that is designed to encourage young people to aspire to and pursue higher education.

You may obtain the NextGen 529 Program Description by requesting a copy from your financial professional, visiting or calling the program manager at 1-833-336-4529. The Program Description should be read carefully before investing.

The Program Description contains more complete information, including investment objectives, charges, expenses and risks of investing in NextGen 529, which you should carefully consider before investing. If you are not a Maine resident, you also should consider whether your or your designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors that are only available for investments in such state’s 529 plan.

NextGen 529 accounts are not bank deposits and are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Returns on investments in NextGen 529 accounts are not guaranteed or insured by the State of Maine, FAME or any NextGen 529 service providers. NextGen 529 participants assume all investment risk of an investment in NextGen 529, including the potential loss of principal and liability for tax penalties that are assessable in connection with certain types of withdrawals of amounts invested in NextGen 529.

Vestwell is the program manager; The Bank of New York Mellon is the program custodian; BlackRock Advisors, LLC is the program investment manager; and BlackRock Investments, LLC, Member FINRA, is the program distributor and underwriter. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill), a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member SIPC, is the NextGen 529 Direct Series recordkeeping agent.