Author: Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha

College application deadlines are fast approaching for students who choose to take advantage of early decision, early action and rolling admission; and before they know it, students will be receiving their first acceptances.

After months, years or even a lifetime of saving for this moment, college-bound students will soon tap in to their NEST 529 accounts – and for early applicants, this might be sooner than the calendar school year. To help prepare for this important next step in one’s academic career, we compiled a list of some early college expenses that your NEST 529 account can help cover:

Nonrefundable enrollment deposit

Many colleges and universities require accepted students to make a nonrefundable deposit to confirm their enrollment. This deposit secures a student’s place in their incoming class, and many educational institutions treat it as a down payment on a student’s tuition.

Once students have committed to a school, they should check to see what kind of deposit is required, if any. If the deposit is nonrefundable and required for enrollment, students can use funds from their NEST 529 account. For more information, and to confirm that your school’s deposit is a qualified expense, contact the NEST 529 team by email at or by phone at 1-888-993-3746.

Tech and other supplies

Personal computers and online learning are more common than ever in higher education. In courses ranging from science and technology to photography and design, a laptop can often be as essential as pen and paper. Once a student is enrolled in a qualified higher education institution, they can use their NEST 529 savings to pay for a laptop, a printer and any required software such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop.

Additionally, funds from a NEST 529 account can be used to pay for internet access as well as any other necessary school supplies – from textbooks and binders, to folders and pencils – once a student is enrolled.

Off-campus housing

Many colleges give incoming students the choice between on-campus and off-campus housing. NEST 529 savings can be used to pay for either option, as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time in a qualified educational institution. Colleges provide an estimate of the cost of off-campus housing, and NEST 529 funds can be used for rent payments up to that estimate, but not above.

Early and rolling applicants will soon begin a new and exciting educational chapter. When that time comes, NEST 529 is there to help.

Have a question about NEST 529 or what counts as a qualified expense? Contact the NEST team at or by calling 1-888-993-3746.