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529 accounts aren’t just for graduating high school seniors; they are a great higher education savings resource for adult learners as well. And Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, can help you save for whatever education you want to pursue.

In some professions, your higher education will need to continue even after you graduate. Or you may want to continue learning for your current career to increase your opportunity for growth. Or maybe you’re thinking of changing professions and want to refresh your education before your job search. Or maybe you’re at a point in your life when you’re ready to complete your higher education.

Then an Ohio 529 Plan can work for whatever next steps you want to take in your life. Whether you want to upskill or reskill, saving in a 529 plan can cover the cost of advancing your career. 529s can be used tax-free at a four-year college or university, two-year community college, trade or vocational school, apprenticeship approved by the U.S. Labor Department, or certificate programs nationwide that accepts federal financial aid. In order to see you can use your 529 account at a higher education institution, then check to see if it has a Federal School Code with the federal agency that runs the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program. If the school does, then you can use your Ohio 529 account there.

How to open an Ohio 529 Plan for yourself

If you’ve opened an Ohio 529 higher education savings account for your child, then you already know how to start on for your own continuing education. This time, when you open a 529 for your own education, you will be the account owner as well as the beneficiary. If there are any leftover funds in your child’s 529 account, you can rollover those funds to your own Ohio 529 account, as you are a member of the family. Additionally, this 529 rollover will be tax free.

There are no fees to open an Ohio 529 account and you can open one of these higher education savings accounts for as little as $25. You can even start an account today.

What expenses can be paid with Ohio 529?

Whether you will head to an in-person classroom or are 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 and are pursuing a degree or certificate.

If you need just a few more classes to finish your undergraduate degree, contact the school you attended to see what steps you need to take to complete your degree at this institution. 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 how to transfer your credits and which classes will transfer. Start your search with the Transfer Credit Ohio for guidance on your next steps to finish your higher education. You can still use your Ohio 529 account to take those final courses to earn your bachelor’s degree at federally accredited higher education institution.

If you want to pursue a graduate-level degree, your Ohio 529 account can pay for those qualified higher education expenses nationwide. Whether it’s a master’s degree, doctoral degree, doctor of medicine degree (M.D.), juris doctor degree (J.D.), doctor of dental surgery degree (D.D.S.), or any other type of graduate school, make sure it has a Federal School Code to use your tax-free 529 withdrawal there.

How to use your Ohio 529 plan?

In order to pay for your classes as an adult learner, you will need to take a tax-free withdrawal from your Ohio 529. You can either initiate the withdrawal online by logging into your account, which will be the faster way to pay, or mail in a Withdrawal Request Form. You can opt to have the withdrawal electronically forwarded to your higher education institution, to your bank account, or mailed to the school. If you choose to send the withdrawal to the school, please make sure you have your correct student ID numbers and correct school address ready to share with Ohio’s 529 Plan.

Most businesses and organizations will reimburse you for the continuing education course after its completion. Some organizations will also repay you based on the grade you earned. By saving in Ohio 529 first, you can take advantage of the advantages of tax-free earnings, tax-free withdrawals, and state income tax deduction. After you are reimbursed, you can place those repayment funds into your 529 account and start the process over again.

If you want to deposit additional funds to your Ohio’s 529 Plan to pay any upcoming qualified expenses for your own education, these new contributions must be in your account at least seven business days before those funds can be distributed and the withdrawal processsed. This and other information is covered in the Withdrawals section on page 8 of the CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Savings Plan Offering Statement and Participation Agreement.

For more than 33 years, Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, has been helping families across the nation save for their children’s higher education. Ohio’s 529 Plan covers qualified costs at any four-year college or university, two-year community college, trade or vocational school, apprenticeship approved by the U.S. Labor Department, or certificate programs, or continuing education classes nationwide that accepts federal financial aid. Learn, plan, and start for as little as $25 today at CollegeAdvantage.com.  

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