(Posted December 15, 2003)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Independent 529 Plan, a prepaid tuition plan created by Juniata College president Thomas R. Kepple Jr. in the early 1990s was selected as one of the twenty five Top Products of 2003 in Business Week magazine this week.

?As the founder of the Independent 529 plan and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Tuition Plan Consortium, I couldn?t be prouder to have the plan selected by Business Week as one of the year?s Best Products? says Kepple, who has been president of Juniata since 1998. ?This plan helps parents and families realize the advantages of a private college education at a price below today?s tuition.?

The Independent 529 Plan enables parents and family members to prepay tuition at any one of more than 230 participating private institutions across the U. S., including institutions such as Juniata, Princeton, Allegheny, Notre Dame, Carnegie Mellon and Boston University.

?It?s like buying a shopping certificate for use at any of the stores at a mall,? says Doug Brown, president and CEO of Tuition Plan Consortium, the Albuquerque, N.M.-based nonprofit group that oversees the plan.

The plan allows purchasers to lock in tuition rates below today?s cost at any of the participating institutions regardless of how many times a particular institution has raised tuition in the intervening years.

The Independent 529 plan is the first tuition-plan product to be sponsored by a consortium of colleges rather than by states. It is the only plan that sells future guaranteed tuition below today?s price. The plan also offers all the federal tax advantages of other 529 plans -- that is, there are federal income taxes to the individual when a tuition certificate is redeemed at a participating institution. For more information about the program visit www.independent529plan.org

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.