Author: Terry Severson, Director, Savings Plans Marketing, First National Bank of Omaha

Whether you’ve just decided to open a NEST 529 Plan, or you’re a long-time account owner in need of a refresher, we’re getting back to basics.

With a NEST 529 Direct Plan, your funds can be used at any accredited public or private school in the United States, including two-year or four-year technical, graduate or professional schools. You can invest for anyone, even for yourself, so long as the beneficiary is expected to use the funds for post-secondary education. There is no minimum deposit or ongoing contribution requirements, so you can put in as little or as much as you can afford on your own timeline.

For those of you who currently have an account, check out our website to learn more about scholarship options, investment adjustments and gifting options. For those who do not yet have a NEST 529 Direct Plan account, a good way to start is by defining your college savings goals, and researching which Investment Option best fits those goals. To help, we’ve broken down the three investment options offered by NEST 529:

  • Age-Based Investment Options: Your account will be placed in a portfolio based on the child’s age helping you determine how much you should be saving every month. Your account automatically moves into the next age-range portfolio the month before your child reaches each age milestone to keep you on track. 
  • Static Investment Options: A fixed allocation throughout the life of the account. Within this option, you can choose a growth based, balanced index or conservative option depending on your current income and growth based needs.
  • Individual Investment Options: The NEST Direct Plan offers 16 Individual Investment Options from various investment companies. This option gives the greatest amount of hands-on control, and allows you to decide how much you would like to invest into your own customized portfolio.

Once you’ve reviewed and decided on the Investment Option that is best for you, it’s time to open your account. Visit our website, and click “Enroll.” From there, you are 10 minutes away from having a NEST 529 account. Follow these 5 steps:

  1. Read the Program Disclosure Statement
  2. Select the Investment Option of your choice
  3. Gather the following information about you and your beneficiary:
  • Residential street address
  • Birth dates
  • Social Security or taxpayer identification numbers
  • Bank account number (to pre-schedule contributions from your checking or savings account)
  1. Enroll online or download an Enrollment Form and complete, sign, date and mail with a check to the address on the Form
  2. Review your New Account Confirmation Letter, which will be available within two weeks of enrolling

If you already have a NEST 529 Plan and your college savings strategy changes, you have the flexibility to change your Investment Option twice per calendar year. If you have any questions about the NEST 529 Plan or would like help opening an account, please contact us at (888) 993-3746 or