A Guide: 529 Techniques to Increase Your Student Aid Options

Jul 20, 2022 By Susan Kelly


You put a lot of effort into saving money for your child's college expenses, and you're now prepared to send the child off to college. By making an effort to strategically spend the money, you may finish the work in style and maximise the value of your 529 plan. Parents, grandparents, and some other family members can deposit after-tax money in 529 strategies that maximize student aid options and then use the investment gains tax-free for eligible educational costs. Exactly when and with what you invest that money will impact whether you are eligible to claim various tax credits and perhaps receive financial aid.

Perhaps you're in the fortunate situation of being allowed to use your child's 529 plan to cover all or the majority of their college costs. You might also need to combine saving, borrowing, and scholarships. In any case, making a strategy in advance for how you will use your 529 will assist you get the most for your money. Here are some things to think about while creating a strategic spending strategy.

A 529 Savings Plan: What Is It?

A state-sponsored investment programme called a 529 college savings plan (CSPP) permits you to set money aside for a recipient and pay for educational costs. Almost every kind of college expense can be paid for using money that you can withdraw tax-free. Additional provincial or national tax advantages could be provided by 529 programmes.

Various 529 Plan Types

Prepaid education and education savings programs are the two categories of 529 programmes. At least one type of 529 plan is available in each of the Fifty states plus the District of Columbia.

Plan for Prepaid Tuition

You could buy college units or certificates at their current pricing for future usage with a prepaid education plan. Purchasing credits when your child is still young can drastically lower overall education expenditures because tuition is steadily growing each year. Before making a contribution, carefully examine the plan paperwork as there may be limitations on the types of schools the recipient may attend.

College Savings Plan

You can utilise an education savings plan, a tax-advantaged investment account, to cover certain educational costs at any college or university in the United States. However, these investments are risky, and the value of these 529 plans might increase or decrease depending on the market, just like your retirement account.

Five-Thirds Plan Strategies

An easy and practical option for parents to begin saving for their child's education is through a 529 plan. You can utilise these tax-advantaged accounts to pay for college costs. Despite the fact that details differ from region to region, here's how to use 529 plans to your advantage.

Save Money Early

Since 529 plans provide tax-free compounding, the longer you keep cash in the bank, the longer it will take for it to grow. By delaying your savings, you lose out on potential income and have to make larger monthly contributions in order to reach your target. A 4-year-old child's parents will need to put in $200 more each month than they would have if they had saved up when the child was a newborn in order to pay for the child's entire four-year, in-state public college education.

Plans For Prepaid Tuition

Families can purchase a year's worth of tuition at a state-run public institution or university through prepaid tuition plans, providing them peace of mind. Only a handful of prepaid tuition schemes are still accepting new investments. Actuarial deficiencies have undermined the validity of several prepaid tuition plans' tuition guarantees. A prepaid tuition plan is also provided by about 300 private colleges. Plans for prepaid tuition can act as a buffer against tuition increases.

Making Investment Decisions

You have a variety of investing alternatives to select from with each 529 plan. The potential returns and risks of each vary. In general, increased risk entails larger returns. You can select risk- and return-spread options that range from aggressive to moderate to cautious. Your portfolio may be changed twice a year.

Hold Shares For Longer

If you choose an age-based 529 program portfolio, your holdings will automatically change as your child approaches college from stocks to fixed-income assets. By choosing more cautious options too soon, you can lose out on prospective gains. Keeping your 529 plan substantially invested in stocks for at minimum five to ten years before transitioning to an age-based strategy is an alternative method. Your yearly return on investment may rise as a result without materially raising investment risk.

Advantages Of The 529 Plan

Several significant ways that a 529 higher education savings program can aid with the cost of a college education include:

  • You can reduce your educational costs by doing so.
  • You can withdraw money tax-free to cover certain expenses.
  • The minimum donation is little.


You may maximise the use of your college money by using the very flexible and effective 529 plans. They are therefore unquestionably a favourite among astute parents and grandparents from all backgrounds and states. There are a number of what-if scenarios, but in principle, the experts advise against using up all of your 529 funds now and putting your money on future financial assistance. They do point out that the tactic might save some people money, though.

Related Articles