West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue joined with Senate President Jeff Kessler, House Speaker Tim Miley and other state officials today to announce that SMART529, West Virginia’s College Savings Plan, has surpassed $2 billion in financial assets.

“Reaching $2 billion in investments is a significant achievement for the SMART529 program. It is evidence that more and more West Virginians are investing in the future of their children and preparing for life after high school,” said Treasurer Perdue, who serves as chairman of the SMART529’s governing board. “Saving for college has never been more important, with tuition costs rising and student debt climbing.”

The SMART529 College Savings Program was established 11 years ago under Treasurer Perdue’s leadership. Currently, SMART529 has more than 120,000 account owners.

“Based on today’s rates, the average cost of college is more than $18,000 a year. Even if your child receives a PROMISE scholarship, it may not be enough to cover all the expenses associated with costs of higher education. Parents need to act now, to make sure their child isn’t left behind,” Perdue said.

Today’s announcement was one of many taking place in recognition and celebration of Higher Education Day at the West Virginia Legislature.

Just last week, the SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan was listed on CNBC’s website as one of the top 10 college savings plans in the nation. It has also been given a 5-cap rating on savingforcollege.com, the highest rating a plan may receive.

A SMART529 account may be used for higher education expenses at most colleges, universities, vocational, technical and trade schools around the nation. There are also state and federal tax incentives.

SMART529 is a qualified tuition program issued by the West Virginia Prepaid College Tuition and Savings Program Board of Trustees and administered by Hartford Life.

SMART529 refers to West Virginia’s specific plan. For more information or to enroll, go to SMART529.com or call 1-866-574-3542.