Is it true what you've heard about 529s?

fiction: A 529 plan can only be used at schools in your home state.
fact: You can use the assets at any eligible higher education institution around the country and abroad — not just in Idaho. That includes 2- and 4-year colleges, graduate schools (including law and medical), and vocational/technical schools.1 For a list of eligible schools, visit the U.S. Department of Education. The IDeal plan can also be used to pay for registered qualified or eligible apprenticeship programs, or qualified K-12 tuition expenses up to $10,000 per year, per student at K-12 public, private and religious schools.

fiction: You can only use 529 plans to pay for tuition.
fact: You can use your account assets for any qualified withdrawals. Qualified withdrawals for higher education include tuition, mandatory fees, certain room and board costs, laptops and computers, and supplies.2 Other qualified withdrawals include K-12 tuition expenses up to $10,000 per year, per student at K-12 public, private and religious schools, expenses for registered qualified or eligible apprenticeship programs, and student loan repayments up to $10,000 lifetime, for the Beneficiary or a sibling of the Beneficiary.

fiction: It costs a lot to open and maintain an account.
fact: Most plans have low minimums. You can open an IDeal — Idaho College Savings Program account with only $25. To help families save more, IDeal offers additional programs, like Ugift® − Give College Savings, which allows account owners to invite family and friends to make gift contributions, and Upromise®, a service that lets account owners earn college savings when they shop online, dine out, and more.3

fiction: You have to make a lot of investment decisions.
fact: 529 plans have several investment types to meet your needs. IDeal offers three types of investments. Target Enrollment Portfolios offer adjusting portfolios in which the investments shift from a growth-oriented allocation to a more conservative mix based on the year the beneficiary is expected to enter their education program. There are also six Fixed Asset Allocation Portfolios that let you create your own investment strategy and a third option of an FDIC-insured Savings Portfolio.4

fiction: It's too late to start a 529 plan.
fact: It's never too late. Even if your student is in high school you can benefit from a 529 plan. IDeal earnings grow tax deferred, and when you withdraw the money for a qualified expense, it's federal tax free.2 Idaho taxpayers can deduct up to $6,000 ($12,000 if married, filing jointly) annually from their state adjusted gross income for contributions for tax periods beginning January 1, 2017.  

fiction: I make too much money for a 529 plan account.
fact: There are no income limitations for a 529 plan. In fact, as part of the tax advantages offered by a 529 plan, account owners can contribute $17,000 ($34,000 if married, filing jointly) in a single year without incurring a gift tax.

fiction: A 529 plan is only for kids.
fact: Are you considering career retraining or an advanced degree? There's no maximum age for a 529 plan. As long as your school or program is eligible, you can use your 529 plan assets — even if you're not attending full-time.

fiction: If the child doesn't go to college, you lose your money.
fact: Unlike other college savings options, a 529 plan account owner controls the account. That means you can change your beneficiary to another eligible "Member of the Family" with no tax penalty.6

fiction: Only a parent can be an account owner.
fact: Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends...almost anyone can be an account owner.7 You can also open an account for your own education.

fiction: It's difficult to open up a 529 plan account.
fact: Most 529 plans let you open an account online. It doesn't take long to open an IDeal account at

1 An eligible institution is one that can participate in federal financial aid programs.

2 Earnings on non-qualified withdrawals are subject to federal income tax and may be subject to a 10% federal penalty tax, as well as state and local income taxes. The availability of tax or other benefits may be contingent on meeting other requirements.

3 Upromise is an optional service offered by Upromise, Inc., is separate from IDeal, and is not affiliated with the State of Idaho. Specific terms and conditions apply. Participating companies, contribution levels and conditions subject to change without notice. Transfers subject to a $25 minimum. Upromise, Inc. is affiliated with Upromise Investments, Inc.

4 Except for the Savings Portfolio, investments in IDeal — Idaho College Savings Program are not insured by the FDIC.

5 Contributions to the IDeal — Idaho College Savings Program are deductible from Idaho state income tax, subject to recapture in certain circumstances, such as a non-qualified withdrawal or a rollover to another state’s qualified tuition program in the year of the rollover and the prior tax year.

6 For beneficiary changes to occur free from federal or state income taxes, the new beneficiary must be a Member of the Family of the original beneficiary. See the Disclosure Statement for the definition of Member of the Family. You should consult with a tax advisor when considering a change of beneficiary.

7 You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien, have a Social Security number or Tax Identification number, and have a permanent U.S. address (not a P.O. Box).

Important Legal Information

By clicking on one of the social media icons, you are leaving the IDeal website, maintained by Ascensus, and are being redirected to a social media site solely maintained by the State College Savings Program Board (“Board”). Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, LLC, the program manager for IDeal, does not monitor or endorse the Board's social media activities. All IDeal social media activities are the sole responsibility of the Board.

Mr. Thiros is a registered representative of Ascensus Broker Dealer Services LLC, 877-529-2980, 95 Wells Ave, Newton MA (member FINRA/SIPC) and is not employed by the State of Idaho.

For more information about IDeal - Idaho College Savings Program ("IDeal"), call 866-433-2533  click here to obtain a Disclosure Statement. The Disclosure Statement discusses investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information. Because investing in IDeal is an important decision for you and your family, you should read and consider the Disclosure Statement carefully before investing.

Please Note: Before you invest, consider whether your or the beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors that are only available for investments in that state’s qualified tuition program. You should also consult your financial, tax, or other advisor to learn more about how state-based benefits (or any limitations) would apply to your specific circumstances. You also may wish to contact directly your home state’s 529 college savings plan(s), or any other 529 plan, to learn more about those plans’ features, benefits, and limitations. Keep in mind that state-based benefits should be one of many appropriately weighted factors to be considered when making an investment decision.

IDeal is administered by the State College Savings Program Board ("Board"). ABD, the program manager, and its affiliates, have overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations, including investment advisory, recordkeeping and administrative services, and marketing. The Vanguard Group, Inc. ("Vanguard") serves as Investment Manager for IDeal. Sallie Mae Bank serves as the Savings Portfolio Manager for IDeal. IDeal's Portfolios invest in either: (i) mutual funds and a separate account offered or managed by Vanguard; or (ii) an FDIC-insured omnibus savings account held in trust by the Board at Sallie Mae Bank. Except for the Savings Portfolio, investments in IDeal are not insured by the FDIC. Units of the Portfolios are municipal securities and the value of units will vary with market conditions.

Investment returns will vary depending upon the performance of the Portfolios you choose. Except to the extent of FDIC insurance available for the Savings Portfolio, you could lose all or a portion of your money by investing in IDeal, depending on market conditions. Account Owners assume all investment risks as well as responsibility for any federal and state tax consequences.

Not FDIC-Insured (except for the Savings Portfolio). No Bank, State or Federal Guarantee. May lose value.