From the press release:
Many families save for college though tax-deferred savings plans called “529 plans” or simply “529s.” 529s are savings plans offered by states that let families save for college in a plan that works much like IRAs or 401(k) pension plans, wherein contributions receive some tax advantages. However, since the health of 529s depends to no small extent on the health of financial markets, at times like the present, when stocks and even fixed income investments have lost a great deal of their value, families can find their savings significantly diminished. This is especially tough for families whose children are ready to go to college, as such families don’t have the time needed to replenish their accounts as the market improves.
Today, Vice President Biden is asking the Treasury Department and the Secretary of Education to study ways of making 529 accounts more effective and reliable.