Iowa Educational Savings Plans Trust

What If Your Beneficiary Changes Their Plan

K-12 tuition. Two-year college. Four-year university. Apprenticeship program. Graduate school. One undeniable perk of saving with a 529 plan is you have options. But did you know you also have options if your Beneficiary doesn’t need the money? Even if your Beneficiary’s path has changed, you, the Participant, have full control over what to do with your savings. Let’s explore some possibilities:

Consider Other Education Options

A traditional 2- or 4- year college isn’t the only type of higher education you can pay for with your 529 account. Your Beneficiary could attend a trade or vocational school, participate in a career-training program or pay for expenses associated with their apprenticeship program. To find out if a specific school or program is eligible, use the Federal School Code search. If your Beneficiary wants to travel, there are also qualified programs abroad.

Change Your Beneficiary

If your original Beneficiary isn't going to use the money in your 529 account, you can transfer the money to an eligible family member. This includes parents, siblings, cousins and grandchildren.

You could even start saving for your own education! Since 529 accounts have no age restrictions or time limits by which the money in the account must be used, you can name yourself as the Beneficiary of your account as long as you're an eligible family member of the original Beneficiary.

Pay Other Qualified Expenses

If your Beneficiary chooses to pursue higher education, but they receive a scholarship or grant? Remember scholarships and grants don’t always cover the entire cost of higher education. Other qualified education expenses – books, supplies and room and board – will still need to be paid. That’s where the money in your 529 account could come in handy.

Let it Ride

Even if your Beneficiary isn’t pursuing higher education right now, that may not be their final decision. Students may wish to take a break after high school to travel, work or just take some time to plan their futures. While they take that break, their 529 account can still be hard at work.

The benefits of a 529 account don’t expire by a certain time or when the Beneficiary reaches a particular age. So, you might choose to keep it open just in case your Beneficiary changes their mind again.

Use the Money for Something Else

If none of these options fit your situation, the money you contributed to your 529 account is still yours to use as you wish and can be withdrawn at any time. However, there may be tax implications. Visit our Tax Benefits page for more information, and we always recommend consulting a tax advisor.

Read the Program Description for details about College Savings Iowa.

© 2024 Iowa Educational Savings Plans Trust. All rights reserved.