Benefits News

Michigan’s 529 College Savings Plan

A Little Planning Can Make a Big Difference

The Michigan Education Savings Plan (MESP) is Michigan’s direct-sold 529 college savings plan designed to help families save for a future student’s college education.  MESP is administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc.


How does MESP Work?


Just as a 401(k) or 403(b) Plan are for retirement, the MESP is for college.  Contributions are made after tax and grow tax deferred.  Withdrawals are tax-free when used for qualified higher education expenses.  Qualified higher education expenses include tuition and fees, certain room and board expenses, books, supplies, computers, and just about anything that the college requires for attendance.  Keep in mind the NMU tuition scholarship program covers tuition only—it does not pa


How much can I contribute?


You can open an MESP account with a low initial contribution of only $25.  Parents, grandparents, or other relatives or friends at any income level can contribute to an account for your child or loved-one or open an account on your loved one’s behalf.  There are a variety of ways to contribute including setting up a payroll deduction as a direct deposit, mailing a personal check, or setting up automatic contributions through your bank account.


How does it benefit me?


Michigan taxpayers are eligible to receive a Michigan income tax deduction of up to $10,000 a year for married couples filing jointly and $5,000 a year for individuals filing single on contributions made to the MESP.  Limitations apply and a disclosure booklet is available for more details.


Is the account transferable to another eligible beneficiary?


The account owner is the only one who maintains control of the account, regardless of age of the beneficiary.  If the funds are not needed for the specified beneficiary for any reason, the account owner can change the beneficiary to another eligible family member of the current beneficiary.


What are the investment options?


MESP offers multiple Investment Options that vary in investment strategy and degree of risk.  You can invest contributions in one or a combination of the Investment Options.


How do I get started?  


For more information about MESP, go to  You may also contact the Human Resources Department at 227-2470 and request a packet of information.