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Saving for Tuition and Fees with a 529 Account

Paying for a loved one’s education can be a significant undertaking for a family, whether it is covering the cost of private school for a young child or paying college bills.

While the price tag to attend any school can vary widely, tuition and fees are generally the biggest portion of the cost. Tuition, the foundation of educational expenses, refers to the amount of money students pay for their courses and academic programs. In addition to tuition, schools often require students to pay mandatory fees.

These fees can cover a wide range of services and resources provided by the school.

Families looking to prepare for the educational needs and goals of their children can save in an Invest529 account, which offers tax advantages designed to encourage saving for future qualified higher education expenses. Tuition and fees are among the qualified higher education expenses that can be paid for using the saved funds. Related: What Are Qualified Expenses

Qualified higher education tuition and fee related expenses typically include:

College tuition and fees: Funds from an Invest529 account can be used to pay for tuition and fees at eligible universities, colleges, and vocational or trade schools. Colleges can charge students mandatory fees that cover essential services such as student activities, campus facilities, health services, and technology access. There may also be fees related to a student's specific major or academic level that a student is charged in addition to the mandatory tuition and fees assessed across all students as a condition of enrollment. These additional costs (sometimes called “differential tuition”) are not covered by Prepaid529 funds.

K-12 Education Expenses: Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, families can use an Invest529 account to pay for up to $10,000 per year in tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school. This includes public, private, and religious schools.

Online College Courses: If the college or institution offering the online courses is eligible for Title IV federal student aid, you can use an Invest529 account to pay for online college courses.

Financial aid, scholarships, and grants can also play a crucial role in making school more affordable for students, so exploring these options is important. Families should consult financial aid advisors and experts to help manage college costs and successfully plan for their child’s education.

Virginia529 does not provide tax, legal or investment advice. Please consult a tax, legal or investment professional.

Resources to help you learn

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most common questions about 529 plans.

Smart Savers Academy

Tune in to a live episode and ask questions of the presenter, or watch a previously recorded webinar below.

Invest529 Portfolio Performance

Review and compare historical returns of Invest529 portfolios.