ST. LOUISPrivate College 529 Plan, the nation’s only prepaid 529 plan owned by close to 300 of America’s private colleges and universities, today announced the appointment of its new president.

The Board of Directors has selected Robert (Bob) Cole as the Plan’s fourth president. He succeeds Nancy Farmer, who retired after 12 years of leading the Plan.

Private College 529 Plan is a prepaid tuition plan that allows families the opportunity to save on the cost of future tuition by buying tomorrow’s tuition at today’s prices and redeeming it at any of the nearly 300 participating colleges and universities nationwide. The institutions guarantee the prepaid tuition regardless of any increase in tuition by the schools or stock market volatility.

Cole joins following a 20+ year career at American Student Assistance, where he was Director of Strategic Partnerships and Community Impact. His key focus was working with families to develop financial competencies and assist them with managing student debt. ASA focuses on eliminating cost as a barrier to education. Given his experience, he clearly sees the dire need to encourage greater saving to combat college debt for parents and students alike.

“For two decades I’ve seen families take on increasingly higher amounts of debt to pay for college,” Cole said. “Given that every dollar saved or prepaid today is a dollar that won’t be borrowed in the future, I’m a huge proponent for educating Americans so that they understand how critical planning and saving can be in finding a solution to this $1.4 trillion national problem.”

Private College 529 Board Chair Tim Warner cited Cole’s expertise in marketing and relationship development for his selection in this significant role. “Bob has an amazing record of both growing partner relationships and connecting with families concerned about affording college,” said Warner, vice provost for budget and auxiliaries management at Stanford University.

Cole’s ASA teams have developed partnerships to help teens and their families with financial literacy, debt management, college selection and other vital strategies to help them afford a college education.

Cole continued: “We know from extensive internal research that our account holders are thrilled with the fact the Plan saves them money on the cost of a private college tuition and it makes getting a great private college or university education more affordable.”

He indicated one of his top priorities will be “hitting the road” to encourage more colleges and universities to join the Plan’s mission of helping families plan and save for private college degrees. Nine schools became members in 2017.

Farmer said she sees an exciting future for Private College 529. “I’ve gotten to know Bob well since his selection. He has a great background for this position and I’m convinced the Plan is in good hands.”

Cole is a product of private college himself as he earned a BA from Bates College in Maine.

About Private College 529 Plan

Private College 529 Plan launched in 2003. It is authorized under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. It is the only 529 plan not operated by a state government. Private College 529 is owned by nearly 300 private colleges and universities nationwide. The institutions, collectively known as the Tuition Plan Consortium, LLC, offer prepaid tuition that can be used at any member or any that join in the future. Ownership of a Private College 529 account does not guarantee admission to any institution or affect the admissions process. For more information, please visit