Investing for K-12 goals

Consider our individual options when investing for your K–12 goals. With this do-it-yourself strategy, you'll select your own investments and manage your portfolio over time.

Keep in mind these considerations

Using 529 plans to save for a child's K–12 education presents investors with scenarios that are very different from saving for college with 529 plans.

Spending patterns

You will typically withdraw money from your 529 account over a much longer time frame if you are saving for both K–12 and post-secondary expenses.

Time horizon

When you include saving for K–12 educational expenses, you will have less time saving than when you are saving for college only.

3 tips for choosing your K–12 investments

  • Determine when you'll need the money to pay for education expenses.
  • Choose your investments based on when you'll need to use portions of your savings and your comfort level with risk.
  • Revisit your asset allocation each year to see if you have the same risk tolerance and time horizon. Reallocate your investments if necessary.

How you might invest $100

Let's say you have $100 to invest - $75 for college and $25 for high school. You might consider splitting your investment this way:

  • $75 in an age-based option designed for saving for higher education based on your risk tolerance.
  • $25 in an individual portfolio baed on your risk tolerance for a child in kindgergarten, who will need the account for private high school in 8 years.

Choose the right investments for your goal

If you won't need a portion of the money for more than 2 years, you may consider additional investment options. Some types of investments offer greater potential to earn more toward your goal, but they also carry greater risk.

There are 2 ways to select investment options for your College Savings Iowa account:

  • If you prefer an all-in-one choice with a mix of investments, consider one of the plan's multi-fund individual portfolios that best aligns with your risk tolerance—and when you'll need the money to pay for education expenses.

    See the College Savings Iowa portfolios for K-12 investing

  • If you'd like to build your own portfolio, select from the plan's individual portfolios to create the asset allocation you're comfortable with. These investments cover all major asset classes —stocks, bonds, and short-term reserves. For each 529 account, you're limited to 5 investment options to save for either higher education or K–12 tuition.

    See College Savings Iowa individual portfolios

If you'll need a portion of the money within 2 years, your main priority may be preserving your principal. Consider low-risk investments that are easy to access.

College Savings Iowa offers the Interest Accumulation Portfolio as an option to consider for pursuing short-term goals.

Learn more about our Interest Accumulation Portfolio

Don't forget to review your investments

Because investing in individual portfolios is a do-it-yourself strategy, it's a good idea to review your portfolio regularly to make sure it's still in line with your goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. You may want to consider annual reviews as you get close to making tuition payments since you may be taking money out more frequently for K–12 expenses.


  • You can only move money from 1 portfolio to another twice a year.
  • Your portfolio won't automatically become more conservative over time when investing in an individual portfolio.
  • You should revisit your allocation periodically, especially if there are changes to your savings time horizon, risk tolerance, or personal situation.