State Prepaid Plans
Virginia529 and the Prepaid529 Program
Please contact Virginia529 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. Virginia529 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 Virginia529 every semester, if you wish to use your Prepaid529 funds ongoing. If your student transfers to a different school or you wish to stop your use of the Prepaid529 benefit, you should then contact Virginia529 directly. Also, SFS does not generally recommend that you use Prepaid529 for either January Term or Summer Session, as in most cases, you will see a reduced value to your benefit for doing so.
A common question we field concerns prepaid plans and differential tuition rates. Please refer to your contract with your prepaid program provider for specifics on what is and is not covered by your contract.
Study Abroad & Virginia529 Prepaid Plans
Students enrolled in UVA programs and Exchange programs that are billed directly through UVA may utilize their Virginia529 prepaid plans. For non-UVA and Outside programs, students are advised to speak with their prepaid plan administrator. Students enrolled with a non-UVA study abroad program (i.e., programs that require payment directly to the host institution) may utilize their prepaid benefits through a benefits conversion process. According to Virginia529, students can convert their Prepaid529 funds into Invest529 funds on a term by term basis. This conversion enables students/account holders to access the cash benefits and pay their desired institution directly for qualified tuition and fees (per their Prepaid529 agreement). Students must speak with their program administrator about the conversion process and eligibility. For more information, please contact your Virginia529 plan administrator.
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.
529 Savings Plans (not prepaid 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 will need to contact the plan provider every term for which you intend to use funds. 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 housing and dining, as long as the fund beneficiary is at least a half-time student. Off-campus housing costs are covered up to the allowance for housing and dining 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.