"Advisors need to play an active role in the 529 plan process," says Spazafumo. "They're doing really a necessary service for their clients. If you look at the mutual fund industry, the retirement planning industry broadly, it is majority advisor sold and much less direct sold."

Curley says advisors are not selling the product as much as they should. "But now that there's more wholesaler support and just broader product support, that hopefully will help the 529 college plan grow," he says. "The opportunity to grow is basically for advisors to take up the product more and more."

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