HomeDirect Account

What’s a Direct Account?

A NextGen 529 Direct Account is for people who want to open an account by themselves and manage their own investments. When you open a Direct Account, you choose the investment options to build your portfolio.

Already have a NextGen 529 account?


You can also download the mobile app from the App Store or Google Play.

Saylor Topsham, ME

Ready? Let’s Do This.

Ready to open a NextGen 529 Direct Account? Click here —you’ll leave this website and go to Merrill Edge to open the account.

Ready? Let’s Do This.

Direct Account Investment Options

When you open a NextGen 529 Direct Account, you’ll be able to choose from 33 investment options.  Within those options, NextGen 529 offers two suites of Year of Enrollment Portfolios that automatically adjust as the student gets closer to enrollment. These can be a great choice for savers that are new to investing. And, savers who prefer to steer their own investment strategy have lots of options too.

For more information about Direct Account investment options:

The Principal Plus Portfolio is currently invested in two Funding Agreements issued by the New York Life Insurance Company that provide for deposits to a Guaranteed Interest Account (GIA). The New York Life GIA offers a variable interest rate that is reset semi-annually. For the period July 1, 2024 through December 31, 2024, the annualized net interest rate is 5.20% and 3.0% respectively for the two Funding Agreements. As of July 1, 2024, the approximate weighted average blended rate of both Funding Agreements is 3.38.* See the Program Description for details.

*The blended rate is subject to change daily and depends upon the asset levels in each funding agreement.

The current rate of the NextGen Savings Portfolio is 5.12% APY as of July 28, 2023. 

Direct Account Fees and Charges

Range of Total Annual Asset-Based Fees*
Client Direct Account Units0.00% – 0.53%

*Fees and charges are different for each investment option. Total Annual Asset-Based Fees, which include program fees and underlying fund expenses, range from 0.00% to 0.53% of a portfolio’s average annual net asset value. 

  • Other fees and charges may apply.
  • Fund expenses can change, affecting total annual asset-based fees.

For complete information regarding Program Fees and underlying fund expenses, review the Direct Program Description.

Direct Account Performance

Like any investment, performance can rise or fall. For more information about the past performance of each investment option, get the Direct Account performance chart.


We’re Here to Help

Whether you have a question about opening a NextGen 529 account or just want to talk with someone to make sure it’s right for you, we can help.

  • Contact a NextGen 529 representative at 877-463-9843.
  • Looking for an account servicing form?
    Visit the NextGen 529 Forms page.
  • Have questions about the $500 Alfond Grant or Grants for Maine Residents? Call FAME at 800-228-3734.
  • You can request distributions, make investment changes and contribute online. Log in to account.


It’s Good to Be a Mainer

There’s grant money available for Maine residents. These grant programs can really boost your savings.1

$500 Alfond Grant for Maine Babies
$500 Alfond Grant for Maine Babies

A $500 grant toward future higher education expenses for all babies born Maine residents.2

$100 Initial Matching Grant
$100 Initial Matching Grant

Open your account, add $25 and get a $100 Initial Matching Grant.

$100 Automated Funding Grant
$100 Automated Funding Grant

Set up and make six consecutive automatic contributions from your payroll or bank account and get a $100 Automated Funding Grant.

30% NextStep Matching Grant
30% NextStep Matching Grant

Make contributions and get a 30% NextStep Matching Grant up to a $300 match per year.

Open a NextGen 529 Account

It’s never too early to start planning. Opening a NextGen 529 account now and saving can make a big difference to your child later.

1Grants for Maine Residents are linked to eligible Maine accounts. An Alfond Grant recipient is eligible to receive the $100 Initial Matching Grant if the minimum required initial contribution is made before the beneficiary’s first birthday. Upon withdrawal, grants are paid only to institutions of higher education. See Terms and Conditions of Maine Grant Programs for other conditions and restrictions that apply. Grants may lose value.

2The Alfond Grant is not automatic in all circumstances and is also available in limited other circumstances. The use of the Alfond Grant is also subject to certain restrictions – see Alfond Grant Guidelines.