Get the Basics
Save for education expenses with tax-free investment growth potential
Our education savings consultants are here to help you find the right 529 college savings plan for you.
Get the Basics
What you get from a 529 plan
Any earnings can grow free of federal and state income tax. Some states offer an income tax deduction, reduction or credit for money you put in.
Use your account to cover tuition, books, supplies, computers, and even some room and board costs. You can also change the beneficiary at any time.
TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. manages plans for 10 states. Choose any state plan based on your needs - no matter what state you live in.
Get the Basics
529 college savings plans help you save for higher education
A 529 college savings plan helps you save for higher education. You can open one for your children, grandchildren or even yourself.
Saving is simple
Open an account You can enroll online by selecting a state plan below or open your account by requesting an enrollment kit.
Contribute & invest Choose an investment option(s), set up regular contributions, and invite family and friends to contribute, too.
Pay for college Withdraw money from your plan tax free, as long as the money goes toward qualified educational expenses.
Manage what's left If any money is left over, you can continue to invest your savings tax free for future education costs.
529 Plan Finder
Before choosing a plan, consider whether the state where you or your beneficiary lives has a 529 plan that offers state tax benefits.
Enter the 2-letter abbreviation for the state you live in to find a 529 plan.
Help Me Choose
Commonly asked 529 college savings plan questions
A 529 college savings plan offers unique tax advantages for people investing money for college. By law, all 529 savings plans must be state sponsored, but you don’t have to be a resident of a particular state to invest in that state's plan (but there may be income tax advantages available only to state residents for a particular plan). There’s no income limit to participate in a 529 college savings plan, and you can open one on behalf of any beneficiary — even yourself.
529 college savings plan features can differ from state to state, like contribution limits, fees, in-state tax advantages, and available investment options.
In general, any U.S. citizen or resident alien with a Social Security Number or federal Taxpayer Identification Number can open and contribute to a 529 college savings plan account on behalf of a beneficiary. You can even open an account for yourself.
Any U.S. citizen or resident alien, including the account owner, can be the beneficiary. The beneficiary must have a valid Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number.
Yes, with most plans you can change the beneficiary or transfer a portion of your investment to a different beneficiary, provided the new beneficiary is an eligible "member of the family" of the previous beneficiary.
A "member of the family" is a person related to the account beneficiary, including:
- a child or a descendant of a child
- a brother, sister, stepbrother or stepsister
- the father or mother, or an ancestor of either
- a stepfather or stepmother
- a son or daughter of a brother or sister
- a brother or sister of the father or mother
- a son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law or sister-in-law
- the spouse of the beneficiary or spouse of any of the above family members
- a first cousin of the beneficiary
The maximum amount you can invest is determined by the specific state plan you choose and varies from state to state. For many plans, the limit is $300,000 or more for all accounts in the plan for a beneficiary.
If your account beneficiary doesn’t attend college, the owner, may name another account beneficiary (who must be an eligible family member of the beneficiary that is being replaced). Otherwise, if you withdraw the funds for a purpose other than to pay for qualified higher education, then you would have to pay federal income tax on the earnings portion of the withdrawal, plus an additional 10% federal tax penalty. There may also be state tax consequences. We recommend you talk to a qualified tax advisor.
If your beneficiary receives a scholarship, you can withdraw the funds from your account up to the amount of the scholarship without penalty or additional tax. The earnings portion of the amount withdrawn will be subject to the additional 10% federal tax to the extent the amount withdrawn exceeds the amount of the scholarship . We recommend you talk to a qualified tax advisor.
You won’t pay any federal or state income taxes on your 529 college savings plan account earnings if you use them to pay for qualified higher education expenses. Qualiﬁed higher education expenses include tuition, fees, books, computers, and certain room and board charges, among other things.
Contributions to a college savings plan aren’t deductible for federal income tax purposes, but some states allow their residents to deduct contributions from their state income taxes. Check with your state to determine what limits currently apply.
An eligible educational institution generally includes accredited postsecondary educational institutions offering credit toward a bachelor's degree, an associate's degree, a graduate-level degree or professional degree, or another recognized postsecondary credential.
Qualified higher education expenses include tuition, fees, certain room and board expenses, and the cost of books, supplies, and equipment required for your beneficiary to enroll in and attend an eligible educational institution.Computers and related technology such as internet access fees, software or printers are also qualified education expenses.If your beneficiary requires special needs services in connection with their ability to enroll in or attend an eligible institution, those services are also considered qualified expenses.
Experience. Knowledge. Leadership.
TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) was one of the first program managers to enter the 529 college savings plan market, and we ’re still at the head of the class.
TFI manages 10 low-cost, 529 state college savings plan programs — none of which have sales charges, start-up or maintenance fees. Plus, our dedicated education savings specialists can answer your questions and help you choose a plan that works best for you.