Home Learn  Earn  Save  Shop Blog 
 Back Learn Why Join How It Works Who It's For Plan for College
 Back Earn Upromise MasterCard Online Shopping Restaurants Travel Grocery & Drug Store Refer a Friend
 Back Save College Savings Plans GoalSaver Account 529 Plans

College Savings Plans

Ace your college savings plan with Upromise

Join Upromise  

Already a member? Login


From savings accounts to 529 plans, there are a variety of college savings plans available to help you reach your goals. Each college savings plan offers its own advantages and considerations. Let’s look at the common options so you can decide what’s right for your family. One thing all college savings plans have in common—Upromise can boost your savings in any plan you choose.

What Are Some Popular College Savings Plan Options?

kids running

Savings Accounts

A savings account with a competitive Annual Percentage Yield (APY) can be a low-risk and flexible way to save for college.


  • Open and maintain your account with ease
  • Use the money for anything, anytime
  • FDIC-insured


  • Lacks the growth potential of a 529 plan or investment-based college savings plan

Check out the Upromise GoalSaver Account with a competitive APY, loyalty bonuses, and milestone rewards to help you reach your goals faster.

Mother and baby

529 College Savings Plans

529 college savings plans are tax-advantaged investment accounts operated by a state’s educational authority that offer their own benefits and features.1


  • Open a 529 plan from any state
  • Use the money to pay for qualified education expenses at any eligible school1,2
  • Choose from a wide range of college savings plans


  • Choosing a college savings plan requires some decisions
  • Using money for non-education expenses may incur tax penalties
Child with Dog

Coverdell ESAs

The Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) is a college savings plan that allows you to save up to $2,000 a year on behalf of your child under the age of 18.


  • Withdraw savings tax-free for school expenses
  • Use savings to pay tuition at trade schools, private grade schools, etc.


  • Restricted by yearly contribution limits
  • Ability to contribute phases out for families with higher incomes

Learn about Coverdell ESAs.

Young child drawing

Custodial Accounts (UGMA/UTMA)

These accounts are set up by an adult on behalf of a minor under the Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) or the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA). The funds are transferred to the beneficiary when he or she reaches adulthood (the age of majority varies by state but is typically age 18-21).


  • Pay for expenses outside of education


  • Does not offer the same tax advantages as other college savings plans
  • Assets are in the child’s name and may have a larger impact on financial aid

Compare College Savings Plans

  Savings Accounts 529 College Savings Plans Coverdell ESAs Custodial Accounts (UGMA/UTMA)

State and Federal Tax Benefits


Low Impact to Financial Aid


No Contribution Limits


Investment Earnings Potential


For Eligible Education Expenses Only


Boost savings with Upromise


How Upromise Can Boost Your College Savings Plan

No matter which college savings plan you use, Upromise can help you ace your savings with cash back earnings on the things you already do and buy such as booking travel, going out to eat, and shopping online. Request a check and contribute your cash back earnings to any savings account you’d like—or link your GoalSaver account or eligible 529 college savings plan to have your cash back deposited automatically.3

If you get the Upromise MasterCard®, you can earn cash back on every purchase you make.4 Then easily transfer your Upromise earnings into your college savings plan.3

Don’t miss out on money that can help you save and pay for college.


Support Your College Savings Plan with Upromise.

Join Upromise

Become a Member  

Already a member? Login

100% of Upromise funds are transferred into my kids’ 529 plans. Whenever I shop for business or personal online, I always log into Upromise.

- Sarah G., Upromise member

Upromise GoalSaver Accounts are offered through Sallie Mae Bank, Member FDIC.

Before investing in any 529 plan, please consider whether your or the designated beneficiary's home state offers its taxpayers benefits that are only available through that state's 529 plan.

1 The availability of tax advantages or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements. Please consult your financial, tax, or other advisors to learn more about how state-based benefits and limitations would apply to your specific circumstance. You may also contact your home state's 529 plan(s), or any other 529 plan, to learn more about those plans' features, benefits and limitations.

2 Earnings on non-qualified distributions are subject to federal income tax and may be subject to a 10% federal penalty, as well as state and local income taxes.

3 Upromise earnings may be swept into 529 plans administered by Ascensus College Savings and is subject to minimum transfer amounts. For more information about 529 plans managed or administered by Ascensus College Savings, please call 1.877.529.29801.877.529.2980 or click here.

4 Restrictions apply. Please read the Upromise Credit Card Rewards Program Rules and Terms and Conditions for important information about rates, fees, benefits, restrictions, limitations, and other costs before applying.

To earn and receive Cash Back earnings, you must be a Upromise member, you must pay for purchases with your Upromise MasterCard and your Upromise MasterCard must be registered to your Upromise account. To become a member and register your credit card, visit Upromise.com/activate.

There is no limit to the total amount of Cash Back you can earn as long as your Upromise Credit Card Account is open, active and in good standing.

5% Online Shopping and Travel Cash Back consists of 1% Base Cash Back and 4% bonus cash back on eligible online Net Purchases made through participating retailers and travel partners on Upromise.com. The 5% Cash Back that you can earn on participating online retail and travel purchases using your Upromise MasterCard is in addition to the online retailers' and travel partners’ up to 5% Cash Back earned through your Upromise account. Exclusions and limitations apply. Go to View All Retailers for a list of cash back amounts by partner. Participating companies, contribution levels and terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without notice.

5% Dining Cash Back consists of 1% Base Cash Back and 4% bonus cash back on Net Purchases at participating Upromise Restaurants. For more information on the Upromise Restaurants Program Cash Back requirements including individual restaurant restrictions or a list of participating Upromise Restaurants, visit Upromise.com/dining.

2% In-Store Department Store and Movie Theater Cash Back consists of 2% Cash Back on every $1 of Net Purchases made in-store at department stores and movie theater merchants that are classified by MasterCard as Department Stores and Motion Picture Theaters. Examples of department stores are Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Sears, Nordstrom, Boscov’s, Bloomingdale’s, Belk, Dillard’s, etc. Purchases at grocery stores, supermarkets, supercenters and warehouse clubs are not considered department store purchases and will not qualify for 2% cash back. However, these purchases will earn 1% cash back. Barclaycard and Upromise do not determine and are not responsible for whether merchants correctly identify themselves and bill transactions as being made at locations in a particular category.

1% Cash Back is awarded on all other Net Purchases made with a registered Upromise MasterCard by the cardmember or any authorized users. Net Purchases are consumer retail purchase transactions made with your Upromise MasterCard less any credits, returns and adjustments.

The Upromise MasterCard is issued by Barclays Bank Delaware (Barclaycard) pursuant to a license by MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard and World MasterCard are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated.