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College Savings 101

Looking to Pay for Study Abroad? Your Virginia529 Account Can Help

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Less than  5 percent of college students study abroad, but a number of studies and surveys over the past decade show that what was once a “nice to have” experience on a graduate’s resume has become one of the most critical components of a 21st century education.

But with the cost to study abroad for a semester averaging more than $30,000, funding the experience comes with a number of challenges.

Did you know, there are roughly 800 international schools that allow you to use 529 funds to pay for study abroad?  Any institution that receives funds from a federal student aid program is an eligible school. See the full list here.


Which Study-Abroad Expenses are Eligible?

So, what can a 529 account cover? Most study-abroad expenses are made up of tuition, fees, required textbooks, and approved room-and-board expenses, which are eligible to be funded through withdrawals from a 529 account.


What about the Plane Ticket?

Travel is a big-ticket item in the study-abroad budget. Travel costs —including airfare and train fare— are not covered under the qualified higher education expenses for 529 accounts. A number of colleges and universities manage academic enrichment funds that support some student travel costs.


Room and Board

In order to use 529 funds for room and board at an eligible educational institution, a student must be at least “half-time” and the room and board costs must not exceed the cost of attendance published by the eligible educational institution for that year.


Tuition and fees for study abroad programs might come with sticker shock, but 529 plans are available to help save money on qualified higher education expenses for educational travel.See how much you can save with an Invest529 account.

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Resources to help you learn

Virginia529 offers free, in-person information sessions at locations across Virginia. These hour-long sessions highlight the program’s three plans, explain the benefits to account owners and give you the chance to get your questions answered. If you don’t live near one of our in-person sessions, Virginia529 offers online webinars where you can learn more from the comfort of your own home.