National 529 Day Celebrates 529 Education Savings Plans, says College Savings Foundation 

May 24, 2022

Nonprofit leader shines light on 529s’ flexibility and ease of use for families over a lifetime

Washington, DC, May 25 – National 529 Day arrives this Sunday, May 29, to celebrate the flexible savings plans that enable entire families to fund their higher education and career dreams.  College Savings Foundation (CSF) sponsored the official designation by the National Day Calendar to raise awareness among parents, teachers and community members of how these unique tools can help support education over a lifetime.

“As parents and children set their sights on the kinds of careers they want to pursue, we want them to know that saving through 529s can help them get there, whether it is by studying at a traditional college, a career or technical school, or through a registered apprenticeship program. Family members of any age can take advantage of 529s,” said CSF Chair Vivian Tsai. CSF is a national nonprofit helping American families save for higher education. 

CSF’s website offers tools for parents to learn how to “Open a 529 Plan” including the full range of qualified education programs from the Department of Education and and a robust array of resources for the entire family, including an activity book for children as well as up-to-date higher education planning and saving tools from CSF members Invite Education and

529 education savings plans – “529s” as they are known – are a tax-favored way to save for anyone’s future education expenses. The use of these plans, where earnings grow tax-free when used to pay for qualified expenses, has expanded significantly to fund a wide range of uses throughout a person’s life: 

  • Tuition for qualified public and private colleges and universities, career and technical schools, and registered apprenticeship programs. They can also be used to fund K-12 education, adult education and retraining, and new vocations for older adults.
  • Eligible expenses include tuition, room and board, fees, books and computers, and related services.
  • Up to $10,000 (lifetime per a beneficiary) can be used to pay down a student loan.   

To provide families with everything they need to learn about 529s, CSF’s website walks families through the process: what they’ll need to start their plan; how they can use them; ways that grandparents, family members and friends can contribute, and common misconceptions.  For example, the site clarifies the minimal effect of 529s on financial aid eligibility, and how 529 plans can be changed to benefit different children, the parent, or even first cousins of the beneficiary if the beneficiary’s needs change.

Results of CSF’s recently released (May 2022) Youth Survey of more than 1,000 high school students across the country revealed the importance of saving for higher ed and using 529 education plans to do so. The majority of students said that they or their parents were saving for higher education:

  • 54% of students have already saved, with a vast majority (72%) saving more than $1,000.
  • 57% said their parents are saving, with 56% of them saving more than $5,000.

One in five families surveyed were using 529s to save for higher ed. Overall respondents were very focused on their career paths, which was the number one topic in speaking with their parents about higher ed.  In another finding that reflects this focus, 63% of students view career and technical schools in the same way as traditional college; however, only 28% know they can use 529s to pay for them, providing an opportunity for more education about the flexibility of 529s.

“We are seeing a rising awareness of the power of 529 plans in funding a wide range of education choices. This National 529 Day we are proud to provide families with a wealth of information on CSF’s website,” Tsai said.

The College Savings Foundation (CSF)is a Washington, D.C.- based not-for-profit organization helping American families achieve their education savings goals.