How do I access my account to pay for qualified higher education expenses (qualified withdrawal)?
You simply make a request to the PA 529 GSP to have a payment made. Your request can be made through an online process or by mailing or faxing a form. You can direct that a payment be made directly to the school, to yourself, to the student, or even to a third party such as a landlord.
Online qualified withdrawals. Making your request online is the quickest and easiest way to have your payment made. To make an online request, click here. Please note that you will need to attach an electronic copy of the student’s itemized tuition bill to your request. You can make an online request only if no other payment request has been processed for the same semester (either online or by mail/fax). So, for example, if you first make an online or mail/fax request for payment for tuition, fees, and housing and later want to make a request for books, your book payment request would need to be mailed or faxed. Online requests that are in good order will be paid in approximately 5-7 business days.
If your student is attending a Pennsylvania publicly funded school, you should check to see if the Tuition Level at which you have been saving matches the school your student will be attending. If it does not, you should change your Tuition Level. By making sure that your Tuition Level matches the public school being attended, you ensure that you will receive the full benefit of the PA 529 GSP to which you are entitled. If your student is attending a private or out-of-state school, your payment will be made at your current Tuition Level (which you may change at any time). You can change your Tuition Level during the online withdrawal process or beforehand. For information on how to change it beforehand click here.
Paper qualified withdrawals. To make a payment request by mail or fax, you complete and submit a Payment Authorization Form. You may download a Payment Authorization Form and one may be automatically mailed to you each fall and spring semester until your account has a zero balance or may be download from the website. In order to download or be sent a Payment Authorization Form, you must first advise the PA 529 GSP of your intent to use your account and the school your student will be attending. Click here for information on how to obtain, complete, and submit a Payment Authorization Form.
Please note that you will need to attach a paper copy of the student’s itemized tuition bill to your request. Mail/fax requests that are in good order may take up to 14 business days to be processed.
To watch a webinar that explains the withdrawal process in detail, please click here.
For more details about qualified withdrawals. See the relevant parts of the PA 529 GSP Disclosure Statement – particularly Part 1. A, “What schools and what expenses can an Account be used for?”; Part 2. C. 4, “Tuition Inflation Value”; and Part 2.D. 2, “Qualified Withdrawals.”
When can I request payment for qualified higher education expenses?
Generally, you can request payment as soon as you receive the itemized tuition bill. However, if your student is attending a private or out-of-state school, there may be a wait for fall semester payments, depending on the Tuition Level at which you are seeking payment. Fall Payment Authorization Forms and online withdrawal requests are not available until the school(s) comprising your Tuition Level have set and certified their tuition rate for the upcoming academic year.Generally, the Private 4-year College Average and the Ivy League Average Tuition Levels are available for payout by July. Payouts for other Tuition Levels might not be available until the end of July. If your bill is due prior to the fall Payment Authorization Form or online withdrawal being available for your Tuition Level, please call customer service at 1-800-440-4000 for additional options.
Can I access my account for purposes other than paying for higher education
Yes. You can access the funds in your account at any time for any reason.
A withdrawal used to move your funds to another 529 is called a “Transfer” (if to the PA 529 Investment Plan) or “Rollover” (if to any other 529 plans). A withdrawal for any reason (other than paying for qualified expenses) is called a “Non-qualified Withdrawal.” There are several factors to consider prior to making a Transfer, Rollover, or Non-qualified withdrawal: (1) the growth on contribution used for these types of withdrawal is calculated differently and often is less than growth on contributions used for Qualified Withdrawals; (2) there may be federal and state income tax consequences; and (3) the number of Transfers, Rollover, and Non-qualified Withdrawals that may be taken in a given period of time may be limited. See Part 2.D. of the Disclosure Statement.
You can request most Non-qualified Withdrawals online by logging into your Guaranteed Savings Plan Account and clicking on the “Account Management” link and then “Make a Withdrawal.” Simply follow the withdrawal flow for the appropriate non-qualified withdrawal type.
You may also request a Non-qualified Withdrawal in writing by submitting a signed letter of instruction, and any necessary documentation, to our processing center. You may fax or mail your request to our office.
Please note that Non-qualified withdrawals processed online may take 5-7 business days to complete and withdrawals completed by paper may take 14 business days to complete.