State Prepaid Education Plans
Please contact VPEP to ensure you have completed and submitted an intent to enroll form for the first semester for which you wish to use the pre-paid plan. VPEP will then send a roster to our office with your name, which will indicate to us that we can expect the funds from the prepaid plan. Only then will we place a credit on your account in anticipation for the funds. There is no need to contact VPEP every semester, if you wish to use your VPEP funds ongoing. If your student transfers to a different school or you wish to stop your use of the VPEP benefit, you should then contact VPEP directly. Also, SFS does not generally recommend that you use VPEP for either January Term or Summer Session, as in most cases, you will see a reduced value to your benefit for doing so.
Non-Virginia State Pre-paids
Please contact your state pre-paid company to ensure you have completed and submitted any required documentation for the semester you wish to use the pre-paid plan. The state pre-paid will then send a roster to our office with your name, which will indicate to us that we can expect the funds from the prepaid plan. Only then will we place a notation on your account to prevent you from being penalized during registration week (i.e. dis-enrollment, late fee, student finance hold). Once we have invoiced the state-prepaid after the add/drop period, we will place a 'credit' on your student account in anticipation for the funds.
Standard 529 Plans
A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged investment vehicle designed to encourage saving for the future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary, typically a child or grandchild. If you have a 529 savings plan--as opposed to a state prepaid plan--you should still contact your program administrator as soon as the term statement comes out. You should inquire what documentation you will need to provide for them to disburse funds from the account. Typically, the plan will pay you directly, and then you in turn will pay the University. Note that you must make your transaction in time to meet the due date for the term statement charges. Usually, the due date for Fall is around August 20th and for Spring is around January 6th.
Your 529 plan benefit amount needs to be received by the university before the bill due date. For the Fall term, you should contact your plan provider to order a distribution by no later than August 1. For the Spring term, you should order a distribution prior to December 25th. Please be advised that we cannot give a student credit for pending 529 funds, and any funds that are past due on a student's account after the due date will result in a Student Finance hold on the student account. Please ask the 529 to include the student's full legal name and student ID number with the payment.
Most 529 plans require that disbursement of funds happen in the same calendar year as the term for which those funds are making payment. This means that for the Spring term, the turnaround time is very tight. We recognize that. If you have concerns about the timing of your payment, give us a call or send us an email. We'll sort out the details together and help to ensure your student starts off the term right.
Money from a 529 plan can be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for study at any accredited college, university or vocational school in the United States and at some foreign universities. The money can also be used for room and board, as long as the fund beneficiary is at least a half-time student. Off-campus housing costs are covered up to the allowance for room and board that the college includes in its cost of attendance for federal financial-aid purposes.
Note for VEST program administrators: Standard wire transfers should include the student's ID number and full legal name.