As a PA 529 IP account owner, you own units of your chosen investment portfolio, not shares of the plan's underlying investments.
Blended Stock and Bond Portfolios
100% Bond and Short-Term Investment Portfolios
100% Stock Portfolios
Frequently Asked Questions
- Benefits & Features
- Contributions & Rollovers
- PA 529 GSP
- PA 529 IP
- About Your PA 529 Plan
- Fact or Fiction
529 plans are college savings plans offered by states or colleges that are established in accordance with Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, to help individuals and families save for college in a tax-advantaged way.
Earnings grow federal income tax-free – Earnings grow tax-deferred and are free from federal income tax when used for qualified higher education expenses.
Earnings grow state income tax-free – For Pennsylvania taxpayers, earnings grow tax-deferred and are free from Pennsylvania state income tax when used for qualified higher education expenses.
Pennsylvania state income tax deduction – Pennsylvania taxpayers can deduct up to $15,000 in contributions per beneficiary per year ($30,000 if married filing jointly, assuming each spouse had income of at least $15,000) from their Pennsylvania taxable income for the purposes of determining their state income taxes.
* The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements. The earnings portion of a withdrawal not used to pay for qualified expenses may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax; the entire withdrawal may be subject to state and local income taxes.
Federal gift tax –You can contribute up to $75,000 in a single year ($150,000 for a married couple filing jointly) for each beneficiary without incurring federal gift tax. The amount contributed is prorated over 5 years so, for example, a $30,000 contribution would use $6,000 of the current $15,000 annual gift tax exclusion each year for 5 years.
Federal estate tax – If you die with money remaining in your account, it will not be included in your estate for federal estate tax purposes. However, if you choose to take advantage of the federal gift tax averaging option mentioned above and you die within five years of contributing, a prorated portion of the contribution will be subject to estate tax.**
Pennsylvania inheritance tax – Funds in the account are exempt from Pennsylvania inheritance tax. Depending on the relationship between the deceased account owner and the heirs, this can be a savings of up to 15% of the entire value of the account.
Completed gift – One of the unique features of 529 accounts is that a contribution is considered by federal law to be a completed gift from the contributor to the beneficiary. However, the account owner, not the beneficiary, controls the account. So if you are both the contributor and account owner, the amount you contribute is removed from your estate but nevertheless you retain complete control over the assets – including the right to change the beneficiary or to withdraw the assets and use them for any purpose (subject to taxes and penalties).
For more information, consult your tax advisor or estate-planning attorney.
* The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements. The earnings portion of a withdrawal not used to pay for qualified expenses may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax; the entire withdrawal may be subject to state and local income taxes.
** In the event the donor does not survive the five-year period, a pro-rated amount will revert to the donor's taxable estate
State financial aid – PA 529 accounts are not included in determining eligibility for Pennsylvania state financial aid programs. Other 529 plans are. If you or the beneficiary is not a Pennsylvania resident, check with your state to determine its requirements.
Federal financial aid – If the account owner is a custodial parent, up to 6 percent of the money in a 529 account may be considered available for college expenses.
Be sure to check with the schools you are considering regarding their criteria for financial aid.
As a Pennsylvania resident, you get special treatment. Not only are your contributions deductible from your Pennsylvania state income tax, the entire value of your account is exempt from Pennsylvania inheritance tax. Assets held in a PA 529 plan are not counted when determining state financial aid for college. Assets in any other state 529 plan are counted. PA 529 assets are also protected from creditors in Pennsylvania. Assets in out-of-state plans are not protected.
Another unique benefit to PA 529 plans is the SAGE Scholars Tuition Rewards program, which offers tuition discounts to 300+ private colleges nationwide, including over 50 in Pennsylvania. One more great way to stretch your savings with a Pennsylvania 529 College Savings Plan.
Anyone – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles – even family friends.
The initial minimum and subsequent investments to your account is $15 for a PA 529 GSP account and $25 for a PA 529 IP account. By law, the maximum amount that can be contributed to one beneficiary from all sources is $511,758. Once your accrued account balance reaches this limit, no additional contributions are allowed. This maximum applies to all PA 529 accounts established for the same beneficiary, regardless of whether they have different account owners.
Contributions can be made by:
- Checks and money orders
- Electronic bank transfer
- Automatic Investment Plan
- Payroll deduction
- Rollover from another 529 Plan or Coverdell Education Savings Account
Saving is most powerful and productive when done early and often. Saving also works best when it's easy – and the PA 529 offers two ways to automate your college savings so you never miss a beat: an automatic investment plan (AIP) and payroll deduction.
Automatic Investment Plan – Automatic investing lets you choose to have contributions deducted automatically and regularly from a savings or checking account. It's an easy way to save slowly and steadily, without having to write and mail a check every month.
Start your AIP with $15 a month for a PA 529 GSP account or $25 for a PA 529 IP account or more if it's manageable for your budget. Remember to review your account regularly and reconsider the contribution amount if family financial circumstances change.
Use the Automatic Investment Plan/Electronic Bank Transfer Form to start, change or stop automatic bank transfers or to change bank information. If you already have a PA 529 account, you can establish an AIP online (GSP | IP).
Payroll Deduction – Many employers let you set up a payroll deduction into your PA 529 account. This is a great way to save by having a pre-arranged amount deducted from your paycheck (after taxes) and deposited into your PA 529 account. You can have as little as $15 per paycheck deducted.
If you already have a PA 529 account, you can sign up online (GSP | IP) or download and complete a Payroll Deduction Instruction Form. After we process your information, you will receive a confirmation statement, which you must sign and submit to your employer's payroll department. Once your employer receives your confirmation statement, they can begin making payroll deductions.
If you're opening a new PA 529 account, be sure to indicate that you would like to establish payroll deduction and provide the necessary information.
If your employer does not offer a PA 529 payroll deduction, please contact our customer service staff at 1-800-440-4000 for information on how your workplace can start.
You can roll over funds from your existing 529 account into a PA 529 plan by first opening a PA 529 account and completing the Incoming Rollover Form for the appropriate Pennsylvania plan. PA 529 will then request the funds from the other program. If you have already closed your other account, you can send the proceeds from the rollover with a copy of your Enrollment Form and a breakdown of the principal and earnings of the rollover. Please note that, in order for the rollover to be protected from federal and state taxes, we must receive the funds within 60 days of their withdrawal.
You can roll over funds from an existing UTMA/UGMA account into an existing PA 529 account, but it is important to note that the PA 529 account will then have the additional restrictions applicable to the UTMA/UGMA account. Another alternative is to open a second PA 529 account exclusively for the UTMA/UGMA rollover. By keeping UTMA/UGMA and other contributions in separate accounts, the restrictions on UTMA/UGMA would not apply to funds in the non-UTMA/UGMA 529 account. You should review the appropriate disclosure statement as it relates to UTMA/UGMA accounts before making this transaction.
You can roll over funds for the same beneficiary only once per 12 consecutive month period. If you change the beneficiary to a family member of the current beneficiary, however, there is no limit on how often you can roll over an account.
A rollover from a non-PA 529 account to a PA 529 account, if done within the rules, will not be taxed by Pennsylvania or the federal government at the time of the rollover. When the account is used, the normal rules governing withdrawals would apply. You should check with your other plan to see if they charge any penalties for rolling funds out of their account to another 529 plan. For out-of-state residents and for people who have previously completed rollovers for the same beneficiary, you should check with your tax advisor for additional considerations. Additionally, an amount rolled over from another 529 plan cannot be deducted from taxable income for Pennsylvania taxpayers, as most other contributions can be.
In order to roll savings bonds into a 529 plan as a tax-deferred event, for federal tax purposes, the bonds have to meet the following requirements:
- Must be a Series EE bond issued after 1989 or a Series I bond.
- The bond must be issued either in your name (as the sole owner) or in the name of both you and your spouse (as co-owners). If the bond is for a child, the child may not be listed as the owner or co-owner – they can be the beneficiary of the bond.
- The owner must be 24 years old before the bond's issue date.
- The bonds must be used for the owner, the spouse of the owner, or a dependent for whom you can claim an income tax exemption on your federal return. If the grandparent is the owner, they will not qualify unless they can claim the beneficiary.
- If married, you must file a joint tax return.
- You must meet the following income requirements:
- Single making less than $72,850
- Single phases out from $72,850 to $87,850
- Married making less than $109,250
- Married phases out from $109,250 to $139,250
For current income limitations and additional information on the Education Savings Bond Program please review IRS Publication 970 (Tax Benefits for Education).
If they meet all of the requirements above, you must do the following to roll your savings bond into your PA 529 account:
- Record the serial number, issue date, face value and total redemption proceeds (principal and earnings). You'll need this information for your IRS Form 8818.
- Cash your bond at any bank or financial institution.
- Make the payment to your PA 529 account and send it to the plan with a letter stating it is for a Savings Bond rollover. Include a statement or Form 1099-INT from the bank/institution to show the principal and earnings.
You can roll funds from your Coverdell ESA account into a Pennsylvania plan by first opening a PA 529 account and completing the Incoming Rollover Form for the appropriate Pennsylvania plan. We will then request the funds from the other program. If you have already closed your other account, you can send the proceeds from the rollover with a copy of your Enrollment Form and a breakdown of the principal and earnings of the rollover. In order for the rollover to be protected from federal and state taxes, we must receive the funds within 60 days of their withdrawal.
It is a tax-advantaged and lower-risk 529 plan intended to help individuals or families save for college. It is a program established by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and administered by the Treasury Department. Growth on contributions to a PA 529 GSP account is based on tuition inflation at a tuition level you choose.
With the PA 529 GSP, if you save enough to pay for a semester of college at one tuition level today, you are guaranteed to have enough to pay for a semester of college at the same tuition level tomorrow. (Some restrictions apply; see the PA 529 GSP Disclosure Statement for details.)
Any U.S. citizen or resident alien with a valid Social Security number or taxpayer identification number who is 18 years of age or older with a permanent address that is not a PO Box may open a GSP account. A corporation, non-profit organization or trust may also open an account. Either the account owner or the beneficiary needs to be a Pennsylvania resident at the time the account is opened.
The beneficiary is the person for whom the account owner is saving. Anyone, including the account owner, can be a beneficiary. Only one beneficiary may be designated per account, but an individual may be the beneficiary of more than one account. Either the account owner or the beneficiary needs to be a Pennsylvania resident at the time the account is opened.
For a detailed explanation of the withdrawal process, view the "Using Your Pennsylvania 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan Account" webinar, available here.
Payments from a PA 529 GSP account may be made online 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. The quickest and easiest way to have your payment made is to make an online payment request. 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 of 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 (see table for Pennsylvania publicly funded schools), 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 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).
Paper qualified withdrawals. To make a payment request by mail or fax, download, complete and submit a Payment Authorization Form. You may download a Payment Authorization Form and one may be automatically mailed to you (alternatively a link to the Payment Authorization Form may be emailed to you, depending upon your delivery option) each fall and spring semester until your account has a zero balance. 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.
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.
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."
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 schools in your tuition level have set and certified their tuition rate for the upcoming academic year. Generally, the Private Four-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 before the fall Payment Authorization Form or online withdrawal is available for your Tuition Level, please call customer service at 1-800-440-4000 for additional options.
After you have updated the school of attendance for your beneficiary and Enrollment Status, you can obtain a Payment Authorization Form (PAF) online by accessing your account at PA529.com. There you will see a link that says “Make a Withdrawal” and an option to make a qualified withdrawal using the Payment Authorization Form. Click the “Next” button and confirm the semester and year, then click “Generate PAF”.
The Program will automatically send you a Payment Authorization Form via mail or a link to the Payment Authorization Form via email depending on your delivery options each fall and spring semester until your account has a zero balance.
Once you have the Payment Authorization Form, you need to complete the applicable sections for your withdrawal. Each section will be labeled for a payment to the Account Owner, the school of attendance, or an optional payee such as the beneficiary or a landlord. Please only complete the sections for which you wish to make a payment and to whom you want the payment to go.
You must also include a copy of the student's itemized tuition bill.
You can fax your completed request to 617-559-2452 or mail it to:
PA Guaranteed Savings Plan
P.O. Box 55463
Boston, MA 02205
Please note that requests in good order may take up to 14 business days to process. For faster processing, please submit your request online by logging in to your account.
You may open an account with as little as $15 and make minimum contributions of $15 whenever you want. Make saving even easier by setting up automatic payroll deductions or deductions from your bank account.
The PA 529 GSP has low fees. A one-time enrollment fee of $50 is charged. But a discount to just $25 is available with the coupon enclosed in the Enrollment Guide or by enrolling online. Additional discounts may be available through your employer or your child's school. And, the enrollment fee is waived if an account is opened within six months of a child's birth or adoption. Additionally, there is an account maintenance fee, which varies based on the value of your account. For more information, please contact our customer service department at 1-800-440-4000.
The account maintenance fee is charged to PA 529 GSP accounts to help cover the costs of administering the plan. The legislation creating the PA 529 GSP designed it to be self-sustaining, which means that tax revenues are not provided to cover the operational expenses. Instead, the plan must generate enough revenues to meet both its expenses and its obligations to pay requested college payments and other withdrawals. The account maintenance fee is a primary source of revenues to offset expenses and an important factor in maintaining the financial soundness of the PA 529 GSP.
Costs of administering the plan include such expenses as investment management costs, processing functions (e.g., opening and closing accounts, processing contributions and withdrawals, sending transaction confirmation and quarterly statements), operating the GSP call center and staffing costs.
Like the fees associated with most other types of investments, the annual PA 529 GSP account maintenance fee is based on the value of your account – your assets. The current fee is 0.44% of the value of your account if used for qualified expenses (with an annual cap of $500), which is lower than the fees associated with most other 529 plans. You can reduce your fee to 0.35% (with an annual cap of $250) by selecting to receive all account statements and notices via email.
The fee is automatically deducted from your account at the end of each calendar quarter. On that date, one fourth of 0.44% (or 0.11%) or 0.35% (0.0875%) of the value of your account is deducted and a corresponding number of GSP Credits is subtracted. For example, if the value of an account saving at the State System of Higher Education Tuition level if used for qualified expenses were $25,000 on the last day of the quarter, the standard fee would be $27.50 ($25,000 x 0.0011 = $27.50) and the reduced fee would be $21.88 ($25,000 x 0.000875 = $21.88).
The dollar amount deducted and the corresponding number of GSP Credits subtracted from your account are shown on your quarterly statement under the entry "Account Maintenance Fee." To keep the fee from affecting your account value and the number of GSP Credits in your account, simply make a contribution in the same amount as the fee deducted ($27.50 or $21.88, respectively, in the above examples). Doing so will restore your account to its status before the fee was taken.
Treasury's goal is to keep the fee as low as possible. To that end, the amount of the fee will be reexamined periodically and account owners will be notified of any changes.
In order to establish a PA 529 GSP account, either the account owner or beneficiary must be a Pennsylvania resident. If you are not a Pennsylvania resident, you may wish to look into the PA 529 IP.
The PA 529 GSP helps you know how much you need to save, and how close you are to your goal, by having you choose a tuition level right up front when you enroll. But you're not locked in -- you can change the tuition level at any time. And, it will automatically be changed for you, if needed, to match your student's school if he or she ultimately attends a specific Pennsylvania publicly funded college or university.
If your student is attending a Pennsylvania publicly funded school, before requesting a payment, 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 account value to which you are entitled.
If your student is attending a private or out-of-state school, your payment will be made based on your current Tuition Level (which you may change at any time). If you have not taken a qualified withdrawal from this account before, you also need to advise the PA 529 GSP that you intend to use your account.
You may change your Tuition Level and Enrollment Status online by logging in to your PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan account. You may also call customer service at 1-800-440-4000.
Once you have logged in to your account, select your student's GSP account and follow these steps:
- Click on "Change Your Tuition Level"
- On the first screen, select the average tuition level or the specific Pennsylvania publicly funded school to which you wish to set your account. (Note: You may not need to make a change on this screen if your beneficiary is attending the school your account is currently set at or is going to a private or out-of-state school.)
- Depending on your previous selection, you may need to determine if your beneficiary is in-state, out-of-state, in-district, or out-of-district. (Note: This screen will be skipped if you are saving at the private four-year or Ivy League average.)
- If your beneficiary is going to a private or out-of-state school, you will need to find their "non-participating institution" by typing the school name (or a portion of the school name) and clicking the "Search" button and selecting the appropriate location. If your beneficiary is attending a Pennsylvania publicly funded school (one that we have a tuition level for) you will simply want to skip this screen. (Note: “non-participating institution” simply means that the school is not a Pennsylvania publicly funded institution.)
- Confirm your student’s tuition level and click “Submit”.
After you have updated your Tuition Level and/or school of attendance you will be brought back to the main account screen and will need to update your student’s “Enrollment Status”.
To update your student’s Enrollment Status, click on the “View Profile & Documents” link from the left-hand menu to access account profile options and follow these steps:
- Click on the “Beneficiaries” link from the left-hand menu to access your student’s information and click “Edit”.
- Change the “Expected Withdrawal” setting to “Yes” and click “Next”.
- Verify your changes and click “Submit”.
After you have updated your student’s school of attendance and Enrollment Status, your account will be ready to make online qualified withdrawal requests or allow you to download a Payment Authorization Form to process a paper request.(Note: All requests for qualified withdrawals must include a copy of the student’s tuition bill.)
Contributing before August 31 of each year may be a significant benefit. Because tuition inflation is ordinarily applied on September 1, contributions made by August 31 receive tuition inflation on September 1. While contributions must be held approximately one year before they and their growth can be used, a contribution made by August 31 of one year can be used as early as for the Summer semester of the next calendar year and receive the benefit of one year of tuition inflation, or for the Fall semester of the next calendar year and receive the benefit of two years of tuition inflation.
It's a tax-advantaged 529 plan intended to help an individual or a family pay the costs of higher education. It is a program established by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and administered by the Treasury Department. The plan is available to all U.S. citizens and resident aliens, age 18 or older, with a valid Social Security or taxpayer identification number.
With the PA 529 IP, you can choose from 15 investment options, including three age-based options, from Vanguard, one of America's largest financial service companies.
ACSR is the record keeper and servicing agent for the Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan.
Vanguard is the investment manager for the PA 529 IP and is one of the world's largest investment management firms. The company is committed to providing a low-cost, wide-ranging choice of investments, including index portfolios, to help PA 529 IP account owners accumulate the assets they need to send their children to college.
The plan offers the following investment options:
- Three age-based options. Investments in age-based portfolios are automatically moved to more conservative investments as the age of the beneficiary increases.
- Twelve individual portfolios, including a socially responsible portfolio. Choose from a variety of stock, bond, short term reserves and balanced investment options in which the allocations remain constant within a specified range. Your assets will be invested in the same portfolios until you tell us otherwise.
For complete details, see the PA 529 IP Disclosure Statement.
Your returns are never guaranteed and your account value will fluctuate with market performance. As with any investment in securities, you can lose money by investing in the PA 529 IP. Keep in mind that the holding period for college investors is short (generally 5 to 20 years), and you should consider investing more conservatively as the time approaches for you to begin making withdrawals. Before you select an investment option, carefully consider your investment time horizon and risk tolerance.
You can change the direction of your future contributions at any time.
You can change previous contributions from one investment option to another twice per calendar year or at any time you change the beneficiary (Note: the investment option change must take place at the same time as the beneficiary change)
No. Each age-based option's investments will automatically change over time as your beneficiary ages, shifting automatically from more aggressive investments when the beneficiary is younger to more conservative investments as the beneficiary approaches college age.
Yes. Refer to the PA 529 IP Disclosure Statement or go to the Investments section of our website.
The 15 investment options offered by the PA 529 IP have been selected specifically for the plan and are the only investment options available.
The returns displayed on the Portfolio prices and performance page reflect past performance, are net of fees, and are not a guarantee of future performance. Keep in mind that you do not actually own shares in the underlying funds. Instead, you own portfolio units of the PA 529 IP, which means the returns for a particular portfolio may vary from the returns of the underlying funds.
Withdrawals from your PA 529 account are tax-free when used to pay qualified education expenses. These are defined by the Internal Revenue Code to include the following:
- Room and board (as specified in the college's cost of attendance; must be at least a half-time student)
- Required books
- Required supplies
- Required equipment, including computers*
- Mandatory fees
- Special needs services
* Must be used primarily by the beneficiary during any of the years the beneficiary is enrolled at an eligible educational institution.
No. The money in your PA 529 account may be used at any eligible higher education institution in the United States and abroad that qualifies under federal guidelines. This includes most public and private colleges and universities, graduate and postgraduate schools, community colleges and certain proprietary and vocational schools. To search for eligible schools, go to fafsa.ed.gov.
Nearly all colleges, universities, community colleges, and law, medical or business schools qualify. Many career or technical schools and schools abroad are eligible as well. The school must be eligible to participate in federal financial aid programs. To search for eligible schools, go to fafsa.ed.gov.
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 plan is called a "transfer" (if from the GSP to the IP or vice versa) or "rollover" (if to another state's 529 plan). 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:
- If made from a PA 529 GSP account, the growth on contributions used for these types of withdrawals is calculated differently and often is less than growth on contributions used for qualified withdrawals.
- There may be federal and state income tax consequences.
- The number of transfers, rollovers and non-qualified withdrawals that may be taken in a given period of time may be limited. See the appropriate Disclosure Statement for more information.
You can request most non-qualified withdrawals online by logging into your 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, with any necessary documentation, to our processing center. You may fax or mail your request to our office.
To request a transfer, simply send us a signed letter of instruction detailing your request.
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.
You have several options if your child does not attend college. One option is to change the beneficiary to a member of the family of the original beneficiary. Another option is to transfer the funds from the 529 account into the account of another, related beneficiary. A third option is to make a non-qualified withdrawal. Non-qualified withdrawals have certain tax implications and for a PA 529 GSP account, the valuation of the account will vary based on the type of withdrawal that you are requesting. For more information related to non-qualified withdrawals, please refer to the appropriate disclosure statement.
Information regarding your account is confidential and will not be released, even to your spouse, beneficiary or successor. If you wish, you may allow individuals such as your spouse or financial advisor to be an authorized agent, giving them one of four levels of access:
- Level 1: Access information and account statements only.
- Level 2: Level 1 plus permission to make electronic contributions, change Tuition Levels (for the GSP), and move money among investment options (for the IP).
- Level 3: Level 2 plus permission to authorize withdrawals (qualified and non-qualified).
- Level 4: Full control including changing the account owner or beneficiary.
For questions, or to designate a Level 1 authorized agent, call Customer Service at 1-800-440-4000. For Level 2 or 3, you must complete the Limited Power of Attorney/Agent Authorization form (GSP | IP). Level 4 requires a Power of Attorney form (GSP | IP). Forms for Levels 2-4 must be notarized. Permissions may be changed or revoked at any time in writing for Levels 2-4, or over the phone for Level 1.
Ascensus College Savings Recordkeeping Services, Inc has been chosen through a competitive bidding process to provide services for PA 529 plans. The company has a large processing center and specialized back-office technology to process large quantities of mail and account owner requests.
An aggregator is a service that gathers information from multiple sources and displays it in one location. Examples include CashEdge, Personal Capital, and Mint. You can grant aggregators access to financial information found, for example, in your bank, credit card, and 529 accounts. Aggregators will then collect the information to which you have granted them access and allow you to view it on their respective websites.
Aggregators require you to provide them with your login and password information so that they can collect your financial information. This can create significant security risks.
The PA 529 College Savings Program allows you to provide aggregators a unique username and password different than the login information that you use to access your online account.
To establish access for an aggregator, follow these steps:
- Log in to your account here.
- Select “Profile & Documents”
- Select “Password & Security Features”
- Under “Manage Financial Aggregator Access,” select “Edit”
- Create password and copy new aggregator URL for your PA 529 account.
- Visit your aggregation service provider to provide the new URL and login credentials so that the aggregator can continue to access your PA 529 account
Two-factor authentication is a security process which provides an extra level of account security by asking account owners to verify they are who they say they are. This makes it more difficult for attackers to gain access to your account(s), because knowing the password by itself is not enough to pass the authentication check.
All account owners who access their account(s) online will be required to establish two-factor verification. Account owners will be required to provide a valid phone number and the program will call or text a PIN. Account owners will then be required to enter this PIN with their username and password each time they log into their account unless they designate a specific device as a trusted.
You may choose to enable “two-factor authentication” at any time:
- Select “Profile & Documents”
- Select “Password & Security Features”
Under “Manage Two-Factor Authentication,” select “Enable”
Source: Modified from the College Savings Plans Network’s Top 10 Myths about 529 Plans.
FACT: More and more families rely on student loans to pay for college, and all loans represent debt that a family incurs. Any savings, even in small increments, that a family can put away will offset the amount of debt it must take on to pay for college.
FACT: A PA 529 account is not included in determining eligibility for Pennsylvania state financial aid programs. Savings held in other state's 529 plans do not receive this benefit.
For federal financial aid, funds saved in 529 plans are generally considered to be parental assets, which means that only about six percent of these assets are currently counted towards the family's expected contribution in federal need-based financial aid calculations.
FACT: A 529 plan may be used at any school that is accredited and eligible to accept federal financial aid. Nearly all colleges and universities, community colleges, and career or technical schools are eligible. To search for eligible schools, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov.
FACT: A 529 plan may be used at any eligible school, including two- and four-year colleges, graduate schools, and vocational and technical schools. Funds may be used for tuition, fees, and certain room and board costs.
FACT: 529 plans have much lower minimum contribution amounts than many other investments, making them accessible and convenient for families of any income level. Families can start a plan with as little as $15 per month.
FACT: There is no maximum age for a 529 plan. Assets may be used at eligible schools offering adult career training or advanced degrees, including part-time programs.
FACT: A 529 account holder can change the plan's beneficiary to another eligible member of the family, such as siblings or even oneself with no tax penalty. And, in the PA 529, you can always withdraw your money at any time for any reason. Investment gains or losses might apply, you may owe federal and state taxes, and you may incur federal tax penalties.
FACT: The federal law that gives 529 plans their federal tax advantages has no expiration date. A change would require new legislation to be enacted.
FACT: A PA 529 account can be opened online or by mail, and customer service representatives are available to answer any questions you may have. Additionally, a wealth of information is available online for families seeking more information about saving for college.
Yes. You may use a PA 529 account to pay for expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school up to $10,000 per year, per beneficiary.
Yes. The amount of qualified distributions from a PA 529 account for the same beneficiary during any taxable year cannot exceed $10,000.