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NEST 529 College Savings Program Achieves Two Milestones

Nationwide College Savings Program Reaches $4 Billion Assets, 250,000 Accounts

North Platte, Neb. (August 18, 2016) – Nebraska's college savings program announced two significant growth milestones today. For the first time, total assets in the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) have exceeded $4 billion, as of June 30, with total accounts exceeding a record 250,000.

"These are remarkable accomplishments for the NEST college savings program," Treasurer Don Stenberg said at a news conference at the North Platte Regional Airport. "They reflect not only our hard work, careful planning, and ongoing commitment, but also they confirm account owners' confidence in our program. These numbers tell us that parents and grandparents trust NEST with their hard-earned dollars and their financial future."

The total assets represent a 60 percent increase since 2011, when Stenberg became State Treasurer and First National Bank of Omaha took over as program manager. Total assets then were $2.5 billion. The number of accounts has grown by 36 percent during that same time period, up from 185,000 to 251,712.

"I have been saying for a long time that we have one of the best college savings programs in the country. Our plans have been recognized nationally through the years for cost, performance, reliability, and fund selection," Stenberg said. "We are very proud of our four individual NEST college savings plans and the value and variety they provide for families looking for wise, responsible, and effective ways to save for the educational needs of the beneficiary."

NEST offers four distinct plans: the NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The variety of investment options offered by NEST allows families to choose the plan that best fits the ages of their children, their budgets and investment philosophies.

Among the national recognition NEST has received:

  • As of the first quarter of 2016, the NEST Direct Plan was ranked fifth out of 55 direct-sold plans in one year performance by the popular website, savingforcollege.com. The NEST Advisor Plan placed seventh out of 31 advisor-sold plans in one-year investment performance.
  • The NEST Direct plan and the NEST Advisor plan earned bronze ratings for 2015 from the independent investment research firm Morningstar. Morningstar cited generous tax benefits as boosting the appeal of bronze-rated plans.
  • The NEST Direct and NEST Advisor plans have received the highest "5-Cap" rating in-state and "4.5 Cap" rating nationwide by savingforcollege.com.

"We are very proud of these milestones that NEST has achieved," added Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha. "The accolades from the national experts are wonderful, but it's the growth in accounts and assets that is the ultimate achievement. It means we've received the best type of praise: parent approval."

To learn more about NEST, visit http://www.nest529.com/ or treasurer.nebraska.gov.

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About NEST

NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska's 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 250,000 accounts, including 73,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529Direct.com, NEST529Advisor.com or treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.

About First National Bank of Omaha

First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska is the largest privately owned banking company in the United States. First National and its affiliates have $20 billion in managed assets and 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.

Investments Are Not FDIC Insured* No Bank, State or Federal Guarantee May Lose Value

*Except the Bank Savings Individual Investment Option