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What is 529 Day?

happy 529 day
Chrissy Foran

Written by Chrissy Foranon May 29th, 2024

I've worked for both public and private colleges and have experience with undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all backgrounds. Prior to joining College Coach, I worked for Washington State University helping medical students, nursing students and other medical professional students through the process of paying for their education. I have a master’s degree in human resources, bachelor’s degrees in Education and English and an associate’s degree. I'm a member of the Washington Association of Financial Aid Administrators.
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Happy 529 Day (5/29)! Some of you might be asking what is 529 day?  It’s a day to celebrate saving for college, when many states look to boost participation in their 529 college savings plans. Some states offer incentives, promotions, scholarships, give aways, and in-person events to help families start the process. A 529 savings plan is a college-specific savings account. It’s one of the most common ways families save for college. One of the reasons for its popularity is the tax advantages. Any money contributed to a 529 account grows tax-deferred, and withdrawals (contributions and earnings) are tax-free as long as they are used for education-related expenses such as tuition and fees, housing and food (both on and off campus), books, and even a laptop. In addition to direct college expenses, the definition of qualified education expenses also includes up to $10,000 per year in tuition for K-12 schools and up to $10,000 in student loan repayments. Funds can be used at a college, university, vocational and trade school, and public, private, or parochial elementary secondary schools. There are international institutions where families can use 529 funds to cover costs. In 2024, the Secure 2.0 Act allows families the opportunity to roll unused 529 funds, up to $35,000, into the beneficiary’s Roth IRA without a tax penalty. The 529 account must be in the beneficiary’s name for the 15 years prior to the roll over. Every state has their own 529 plan and, in some cases, may offer a state tax incentive for contributions. You aren’t limited to your own state’s plan. You can open a plan outside of your state and use it in another. Below is a sample of the some of the states’ incentives for opening an account and contributing to a 529 plan this month:
  • California’s ScholarShare 529 is celebrating National 529 College Savings Day by offering a $50 match for families who open a new ScholarShare 529 account between May 20 and May 31, contribute an initial $50 or more, and set up recurring contributions of $50 or more per month for six consecutive months.
  • The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) will celebrate 529 Day throughout the month of May with expanded savings content across MEFA’s communications platforms. MEFA will host special college savings webinars for families and counselors. MEFA plans to host a new podcast episode with guest Cory Latham from Fidelity Investments on the topic of Investing 101.
  • The Michigan Education Trust (MET) will be offering a $50 Bonus for Pay-As-You-Go contracts that set up new recurring ACH payments through MET of at least $100/month for June-September. Bonus is available for both new and existing contracts. New contracts opened between May 1-31 can use coupon code 529DAY to waive the $25 online enrollment fee. If you open a Michigan Education Savings Plan account between 5/22/24 and 5/31/24, account owners will receive up to a $100 bonus.
  • West Virginia will hold a Fund the Future contest. Parents, enter your child, age 17 or younger, in the Fund the Future Sweepstakes! SMART529, West Virginia’s Education Savings Solution, will award $15,000 in college savings invested in a SMART529 account. The deadline to enter is May 22, 2024.
  • Utah residents may be eligible for up to a $40 match if they open a my529 account for a beneficiary who is new to my529 between May 1 and 31, 2024. To qualify, contribute at least $25 at opening, and set up scheduled monthly contributions for at least six consecutive months.
Check out your state’s 529 plan along with other state options at

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