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NOTE: This is the process for CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan accounts only. The process is different for Guaranteed Plan accounts. Here’s guidance for withdrawals from the Guaranteed Plan.
CollegeAdvantage wants your 529 plan withdrawal and subsequent payment for qualified higher education expenses to be simple and quick. By initiating these transactions online, you are taking advantage of the fastest and most accurate method; however, there are other procedures you can also follow. Keep an eye on your payment timeline as you start the withdrawal process. It’s better to prepare now than to be surprised by time constraints after making the request. This guide can serve as a useful reference now and in the future.
Online withdrawal requests followed by online tuition payments to the school are the fastest way to move money from your CollegeAdvantage 529 account to a college or university. Here’s how to do it all online:
- Add your bank’s information now. Before you can make a withdrawal, you must have your bank account information on file for 15 business days. For security purposes, no withdrawals will be processed until your bank information has been on file with your CollegeAdvantage account(s) for at least 15 business days. This is a one-time waiting period unless you change your banking information. To add your current bank account details to each of your CollegeAdvantage Direct Plan accounts, log in to your account, and use the “Asset Management” menu to add your bank information in the “Manage Banks” section.
- Request your withdrawal be paid electronically to your bank account. The fastest delivery method that CollegeAdvantage offers is to have your 529 withdrawal sent electronically to your bank account. Withdrawals requested before 4 p.m. ET on business days will be processed and approved in two business days. It may take additional time for your bank to show the 529 withdrawal as being deposited. From the date of your request, you can expect the funds to be received by your bank within three to five business days.
- Pay your tuition online from your bank account. Once the 529 funds have been deposited to your bank account, use your college’s online portal to pay your higher-education expenses from the school from your bank account. Most schools have their own electronic tuition payment process as well as other traditional methods. Check your school’s bursar office for details. Processing times will vary by school; you should ask what it is then start the withdrawal process early to avoid late fees.
Paper Check Delivery to the School
CollegeAdvantage can send the payment directly to the school, but be aware that we only send paper checks by U.S. mail. Depending on the U.S. Postal Service’s delivery schedule as well as the school’s paper check processing procedures, this may cause delays in the payment. If you still choose the paper check delivery, you must do the following:
- Provide CollegeAdvantage with the correct school address where the check should be sent.
- Provide your student’s school ID number with the withdrawal request so the school knows to whom to credit the payment.
- Allow at least an additional 10 business days after the date of your online withdrawal request for the check to arrive at the school. It will also take the school additional time to apply the payment to your student’s expenses.
Paper Withdrawal Request Form
For those who prefer to use a paper form, CollegeAdvantage offers a Withdrawal Request Form. Please be aware that this is potentially the slowest withdrawal method. This form, as well as other account maintenance forms, can be found here.
In the interest of time and prompt payment, we do encourage you to make your withdrawal request online, rather than download the form. The form is available as a fillable PDF, which we recommend taking advantage of if you plan to use it.
You may also print the form and clearly write on it. The completed paper form must be signed then mailed to the address provided on it.
You may have the funds sent to you as the Account Owner, or to the Beneficiary, either by mailed paper check, or by Automated Clearing House (ACH) which electronically deposited the 529 withdrawal in you or the Beneficiary’s bank account. Once you receive the funds, you will have to decide how to pay the school.
If you wish to have the payment sent directly to the school, review the “Paper Check Delivery to the School” information above then provide the required information in section 3 C of the Withdrawal Request Form.
The most important step is to prepare now for upcoming 529 withdrawals. Make sure your bank information is correct on your CollegeAdvantage accounts and that you know how much time the school needs to process your payment. These simple steps will expedite the withdrawal so you can pay the school expenses on time.
Posted on November 18, 2016