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529 Plans Rethinking the Possibilities

529 Plans: Rethinking the Possibilities

529 plans are no longer solely reserved for college tuition. Today, these versatile accounts offer a broader spectrum of possibilities beyond saving for college, covering expenses like vocational schools and K-12 education. With their tax advantages and adaptability to diverse educational paths, 529 plans emerge as a strategic solution for families seeking flexibility and foresight in securing their children’s educational future. In this blog, we are rethinking the possibilities of 529 plans to explore their full potential and delving into how you can leverage these accounts to invest in your child’s future at every stage of their education journey.

529 Plans for College Tuition

Traditionally, 529 plans have been used to save for college tuition and related expenses. These accounts offer tax-deferred growth and tax-free withdrawals when funds are used for qualified higher education expenses. By contributing to a 529 plan, parents can build a dedicated fund to cover the cost of tuition, room and board, books, and other college-related expenses. Anyone can contribute to 529 plans, allowing family and friends to contribute to your child’s future education.

K-12 Tuition

In recent years, the scope of 529 plans has expanded to include K-12 education expenses. Families can now use a 529 plan to pay for up to $10,000 in tuition at elementary, middle, and high schools, including private and religious institutions. This flexibility allows parents to start saving for their child’s education from an early age and provides additional options for educational choices beyond the traditional public school system. 

Vocational Schools

Another exciting development in the possibilities of 529 plans is the ability to use funds for vocational schools and career training programs. If your child is interested in pursuing a trade or obtaining specialized certifications, a 529 plan can help cover the cost of tuition, fees, and supplies. This opens up new opportunities for students who may not have considered traditional four-year college programs, allowing them to pursue career paths aligned with their interests and goals. Eligible vocational schools, including many technical colleges, cosmetology schools, culinary schools, and more can be found using the Federal School Code Lookup Tool.

Apprenticeship Programs

529 plans can also be used to support apprenticeship programs that are certified and registered with the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Apprenticeships Act, providing financial assistance for on-the-job training and educational coursework. Apprenticeships offer a valuable alternative to traditional education pathways, allowing individuals to earn, while they learn and gain practical skills in a specific trade or industry. By using funds from a 529 plan, apprentices can offset the cost of program fees, books, supplies, equipment, and other related expenses, making these opportunities more accessible to aspiring professionals. The Department of Labor provides a search tool to determine whether your apprenticeship is eligible for 529 plan funds. 

As 529 Day approaches, it’s time to rethink the possibilities of 529 plans and explore the various ways you can use them to invest in your child’s education journey. Contact the Blakely Financial office today to learn how we can help you maximize the benefits of 529 plans and support your child’s goals every step of the way. 


The fees, expenses, and features of 529 plans can vary from state to state. 529 plans involve investment risk, including the possible loss of funds. There is no guarantee that an education-funding goal will be met. In order to be federally tax free, earnings must be used to pay for qualified education expenses. The earnings portion of a nonqualified withdrawal will be subject to ordinary income tax at the recipient’s marginal rate and subject to a 10 percent penalty. By investing in a plan outside your state of residence, you may lose any state tax benefits. 529 plans are subject to enrollment, maintenance, and administration/management fees and expenses.
Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.