How much can be contributed to a 529 plan each year?

Each parent can contribute up to $15,000 a year ($30,000 per couple) towards their child’s plan as of 2018 to qualify for the annual federal gift tax exclusion.  If you would like to contribute more, you can superfund the next 5 years to accelerate up to $75,000 per parent ($150,000 per couple) using the option […]

What does tax-free growth mean as it relates to the 529 plan?

Investment earnings in a 529 plan compound on a tax-deferred basis Withdrawals that are used for qualifying educational expenses are federal tax-free.

How many 529 plans can I have?

There’s no set limit on the number of 529 accounts that can be opened for any particular beneficiary. If you plan to have more than one 529 plan for your child, you should just remember to stay within the annual $15,000 limit for the gift tax exclusion purposes.  In addition, you can always decide to […]

How will my money be invested?

U-Nest will recommend what we believe to be the optimal investment portfolio based on your child’s age and your time frame. In addition, your investment portfolio will be rebalanced automatically, based on your child’s age, to achieve the most suitable asset allocation and reduce the investment risk as your child approaches college. The age-based portfolios […]

What types of expenses or fees are involved with the plan?

Our fee structure is very transparent – each account is only $3/month. You can refer to the Program Description for more information about underlying management fees and fund expenses.

What can happen to my investments in case of market downturn?

Although your investments may potentially lose value, this risk can be reduced if you’re investing for the long term. Historically, every market downturn has resulted in an upturn. It’s important to note that market downturns can occur at any time and past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. As fiduciaries, we always keep your interests in […]

How do I make withdrawals from this fund to pay for college?

If you are paying for tuition, you can set it up so the funds transfer directly to the school, eliminating the need for a formal withdrawal. For other educational expenses, three business days may be necessary to withdraw or transfer into your account. After that, you are free to spend the money tax-free on qualified […]

What is considered a qualified higher education expense?

Qualified higher education expenses generally include: Tuition Textbooks, supplies and equipment Mandatory fees Computer or peripheral equipment Computer software Internet access and related services Certain room and board expenses Special needs services for a beneficiary with special needs Please note: Paying off a student loan is not considered a qualified expense.

Ksenia Yudina, CFA, MBA

Founder and CEO

Ksenia is the Founder and CEO of U-Nest, the first mobile app that makes it easy for families to save for college. As an entrepreneur and finance professional, Ksenia has focused on alleviating the impact of student debt on families across the economic spectrum. Previously, Ksenia was a Vice President atCapital Group/American Funds, the largest 529 provider in the U.S. In this role, she played a leadership role in helping parents plan and manage their finances, with a focus on the future well-being of their children. Prior to Capital Group/American Funds, she was founder of a residential real estate company. Ksenia earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from CaliforniaState University Northridge, and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

Mike Van Kempen

Chief Operating Officer

Mike joined U-Nest in September 2019 as COO. He was previously at Acorns, a financial wellness platform, where he spearheaded the analytics and growth initiatives. Mike successfully expandedAcorns’ paid acquisition strategy, adding over 4.5 million investment accounts. Mike began his career in strategy & analytics at Belly, a Chicago-based loyalty startup in 2012. At Belly, Mike led projects that fueled growth across all aspects of the business, growing the customer base from1,000 to over 11,000 merchants, and accumulating a membership of over 2 million customers.Mike holds a B.B.A. in Finance from Loyola University of Chicago.

Steve Buchanan

Chief Technology Officer

Steve has over 20 years of experience in delivering digital innovations in the financial sector. Steve previously orchestrated product architecture and innovation as a Solutions Architect/ Fintech consultant at Union Bank. Prior to Union Bank, he was Chief Architect and Director of Engineering at Calypso, a Silicon Valley startup, where he architected and built multiple financial solutions. He was also Head of Global Integrations at Globe One in Vietnam where he integrated its Peer-to-Peer lending products into core banking solutions. Steve also built the first ever electronic Equities &Equity Options trading systems for Scottish stock brokers Wood Mackenzie (acquired by CountyNatWest). He is a graduate of Edinburgh University.

Peter Mansfield

Chief Marketing Officer

Peter has built an impressive track record in multiple financial industry segments including payments, credit/prepaid cards and lending. He has played an instrumental role at a succession of financial industry leaders, co-founding companies such as Brand3 (acquired by American Express) and PropertyBridge (acquired by Moneygram), and, as the early stage marketing lead at Marqeta (where he was team member number two), BillFloat and WallabyFinancial (acquired by Bankrate).He has helped fast-growth companies reach an aggregate market value of close to $8 billion. Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Angila, UK.

Sonya Kidman

Client Relationship Manager

Sonya Kidman is a Customer Success professional with a decade of experience in advocating for consumer through user research and genuine empathy. Sonya specializes in user behavior and regularly attends national and global training sessions in wellness and people analytics tools. Sonya is a true global citizen was born in Russia, grew up in Israel, lived and worked in Canada and NewZealand. That global expertise along with an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Tel AvivUniversity have helped to shape a bullet-prof Sonya's framework to develop a winning customer strategy.

Frank Mastrangelo

Board Member

One part banker and one part technologist, Frank spent his early days with the Annenberg Foundation and PNC Bank. His career path led him to Jefferson Bank, where he led the build-out of its electronic banking platforms, and where he would forge a powerful alliance with The Bancorp co-founder Betsy Z. Cohen. As President and COO of The Bancorp from its inception in 1999 Frank played a critical role in helping the organization become an industry bellwether for branchless financial services and a global leader in payments. For this, he has become a widely respected fintech expert, and thought-leader. Frank was recognized in 2013 by Banking Innovation, a leading industry journal, as an “Innovator to Watch.” and as one of the innovators shaping the future of banking. Frank is a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania.


College Savings Calculator is a hypothetical tool that demonstrates how monthly contributions, age-based asset rebalancing, and tax savings may impact the long-term value of your account, and do not take into account a portfolio’s underlying investment management fees. Calculations assume the private institution cost inflation is 2.8%, public out of state cost inflation is 3.9%, public in state cost inflation is 2.7%. Portfolio is assumed to have only stocks and bonds. Monthly equity returns are based on the historical data from the 10-year track record of the stock market (SPY). Monthly fixed income returns are based on the historical data from the 10-year track record of the bond market index (AGG). The current college expenses are provided by the Actual account performance may differ due to market fluctuations, changes in recurring investments, and asset allocation. The information provided here is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent actual or future performance of any investment option and is not intended to predict or project the investment performance of any security or index.