Assets held in 529 college savings plans increased 16.7% last year as the largest state plans continued to attract the bulk of the assets.

Last year, college savings plan reached an estimated $168.5 billion, up from $144.4 billion a year earlier. According to Boston-based researcher Financial Research Corp., estimated 529 net inflows were over $3.1 billion in the fourth quarter, the highest level since the first quarter of 2011.

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