Author: Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank
As we enter the homestretch of College Savings Month, I’d like to recognize some of the month’s highlights. From the proclamation of College Savings Month in the state of Nebraska to the launch of several NEST 529 College Savings Plan giveaways and drawings, it’s great to see everyone stand behind our mission to raise awareness about saving for education with the NEST 529 Plan. To make the most of your plan, it’s also important to shed light on and debunk some of the top NEST 529 Plan misconceptions:
Misconception: NEST 529 Plan funds can only be used to attend a traditional 4-year college.
Fact: The money you save in your NEST 529 Plan can be used at any eligible educational institution in the United States, including out-of-state and even some international schools. Options include:
- Two- and four-year public and private colleges
- Graduate and professional programs
- Vocational-technical schools
Misconception: Only parents can invest in a NEST 529 Plan.
Fact: Anyone can invest for anyone. You can invest for your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, friend, spouse and even for yourself as long as the beneficiary is expected to use funds for higher education.
Misconception: NEST 529 Plans are only for kids.
Fact: Though 529 plans are traditionally used to fund children’s future educational costs, there are no age restrictions on who can use them. Adults heading to school should consider opening a NEST 529 Plan for their own expenses.
Misconception: A NEST 529 Plan can have a negative impact on financial aid.
Fact: The assets in your NEST 529 Plan are a component in determining the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Current federal guidelines state that if a student is a dependent and the 529 plan account is owned by a parent, the account will be considered the parent’s asset and will be calculated up to 5.64% of its value when determining the EFC. As a result, NEST 529 Plan funds are considered when determining financial-aid eligibility, but their impact on need-based financial aid is minimal.