‘Disgraceful’: Chair of Md. college savings plan resigns amid claims families weren’t able to access funds

Maryland delegates held a hearing on Thursday to question the state’s 529 college savings plan leaders after families claimed that they couldn’t access all of the money in their accounts.

For months, hundreds of residents were unable to access the interest in their Maryland 529 accounts after an interest calculation error was discovered.

Then on Friday, board chair Peter Tsirigotis turned in his resignation.

In a statement, the 529 board said “The Maryland 529 Board and staff would like to thank Peter Tsirigotis for his dedication and service as the Maryland 529 Board Chair and wish him well in his future endeavors. Vice Chairman, Geoffrey Newman, will serve as the interim Board chair until a new chairperson is elected at the February 23, 2023 Board meeting.”

Tsirigotis was named board chair in March of last year.

“It’s disgraceful, really,” said House Appropriations Committee Chair Ben Barnes to plan administrators Thursday. “This legislature is really looking at your governance and thinking maybe we need some big changes here.”

Wendy Hall said she was unable to make tuition payments for her son’s tuition because of the problem.

“Our interest, like all the rest of Maryland was frozen,” she said. “So in order to pay Daniel’s fall semester tuition, we refinanced our home.”

529 board leaders said all impacted accounts are being reviewed and the plan now has quality-control measures in place.

“I want to apologize to our account holders for how difficult this has been for you,” Tsirigotis said.

They have also hired a crisis-management firm.

“Resolving this issue has taken much longer than anticipated, and we are still working to review every account impacted,” said the 529 board’s executive director Anthony Savia. “We can and will do better.”

A 529 college savings plan is a state-sponsored investment plan that enables you to save money for a beneficiary and pay for education expenses, according to investment management company BlackRock.

WTOP’s Ciara Wells contributed to this report.

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Stetson Miller

Stetson Miller is an anchor and reporter for WTOP. He has worked in TV newsrooms for the last several years in New York, Baltimore, Washington and Charleston, SC.

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