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529 Tips

529s Aren’t Just For Children. Adults Can Use Them, Too.

These past two years have been a catalyst for a lot of change. If you have stepped out of the job market or want to update your credentials, you can save for those costs in a 529 plan for yourself. And Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, offers the smartest way to save for it tax-free.

529s aren’t just for your kids as you plan for their higher education costs. You — yes, you, the adult, the parent – can use a 529 plan as well. And you aren’t alone in considering what you want to do concerning your own higher education. About 38% of adult Ohio workers believe they need additional education to advance their career. A majority say they’re likely to pursue more education in the next 5 years.1

Did you have to set aside your own higher education when you were younger? Do you feel like your career needs a boost of further education? Or do you want to completely change jobs to follow a new passion? Did you need to step away from your job to accommodate family changes and would like to freshen up your skills before heading back into the work force? Or do you need to attend some classes for continuing education classes? For all these possible opportunities, Ohio’s 529 Plan can help you save for those education expenses tax-free. And it only takes as little as $25 to start.

At What Schools Can You Use Ohio’s 529 Plan?

The great news is you have maximum flexibility with Ohio’s 529 Plan because it can be used at any federally accredited school nationwide. No matter what higher education you want to achieve, your 529 plan can be used for it, as long as the school or program accept federal financial aid. Which means your 529 account can be used not only at a four-year university or college, but also a two-year community or technical college, trade or vocation school, apprenticeship, certificate program, and graduate and professional school. This also means that there are thousands of schools across the country for you to use our own personal 529 account for your own higher education.

If you need to take some classes to upskill or get some retraining in your current field, you can take courses at your local community college, four-year college, or a certificate program. Just make sure that school you want to attend is federally accredited educational institution. To confirm that it is, search the website of Federal Student Aid, an Office of the U.S. Department of Higher Education that determines federal financial aid for students through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If it has a Federal School Code on FAFSA, then you can use your own personal 529 plan there. 

The same holds true if you want to go back to graduate school to get your master’s in your field to increase your potential income. As long as the school has a school code with FAFSA, then you can use your Ohio 529 account there. The list includes medical, law, and many more specialized fields.

If you are in a field that requires continuing education to maintain your professional license-such as nursing and teaching a 529 plan can be used to cover those costs at a school that also accepts federal financial aid.

Do you need just a few more classes to finish your undergraduate degree? Contact the higher education institution to see what steps you need to take to complete your degree there. Or if you want to transfer your previously earned college credits to another institution and you live in Ohio, the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) can help you see what credits will transfer. Start your search with the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN) to see how to transfer those credits. Remember, you can use your 529 plan to take those final courses to earn your bachelor’s degree at federally accredited postsecondary institution.

And if there is any remaining funds in your personal Ohio 529 account after you’ve completed the education you wanted, you can transfer the leftover money to your child or grandchild’s 529 plan.

Again, even if you’ve been saving in Ohio’s 529 Plan, you can use your account nationwide at any federally accredited higher education institution.

What Can You Pay For With Ohio 529?

Whether you will be heading into an in-person classroom or sitting at your laptop for online learning, you can use your Ohio 529 account to pay for that class. 529 college savings plans are made to cover those qualified expenses necessary to attend a higher education institution. And tuition—whether for in-person or online classes—is a necessary cost for attendance.

What else can you pay for tax-free with a withdrawal from your own 529 account, other than tuition? Mandatory fees; computer equipment and related technology as well as internet services; books, supplies and equipment related to enrollment and class schedule; and qualified costs for apprenticeships such as fees, textbooks, supplies, and equipment like required trade tools. And if you really want to full college experience, your 529 funds will cover room & board as well if you enrolled at least half-time.

How to open a 529 account for yourself

To open an Ohio 529 account for yourself, it’s just as simple as when you opened an account for your child. Only this time, you will be the account owner and the beneficiary. Follow the same steps as you did before to open your child’s Ohio 529 account, and if you need a reminder, this article will guide you through the process.

If there happens to be any leftover funds from a 529 plan that you set up for your child, you can transfer the remaining amount over to your own 529 account without any penalty as you are a member of the original beneficiary’s family.

Visit Ohio’s 529 Plan online to start saving today for your own higher education. An investment in a 529 plan is an investment in yourself where every dollar saved today is a dollar that doesn’t have to be borrowed later. Learn, plan, and start with Ohio’s 529 Plan today at  CollegeAdvantage.com.

 

1 Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey 2018-2019. Base: U.S. Adults 18-65 with less than an associates’ degree and currently not enrolled, 106,214.

Posted on March 01, 2022

Ohio Tuition Trust Authority

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