Michigan 529 Advisor Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We have answers!


Top 10 Questions

Q:
What are the qualified higher education expenses?

Qualified higher education expenses include tuition, certain room and board expenses, fees, and the cost of books, supplies, and equipment required for the enrollment and attendance of the Beneficiary at an eligible educational institution. Computers and related technology such as internet access fees, software or printers are also qualified education expenses. The student must be the primary user of the equipment.

Qualified higher education expenses also include certain additional enrollment and attendant costs of a beneficiary who is a special needs beneficiary in connection with the beneficiary’s enrollment or attendance at an eligible institution. For this purpose, an eligible educational institution generally includes accredited postsecondary educational institutions offering credit toward a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, a graduate-level degree or professional degree, or another recognized postsecondary credential.

Q:
Who can open an account?

Any individual with a Social Security number or federal Taxpayer Identification Number who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien can open an account and contribute to the MI 529 Advisor Plan account on behalf of any beneficiary. An organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an estate or a trust may also open an account. Such entities will be subject to additional restrictions or administrative requirements and may not open an account online or participate in e-Delivery. You can even open an account for yourself. Speak with your financial advisor on opening an account today.

Q:
Is there a Michigan income tax deduction?

Michigan taxpayers may also be eligible for a Michigan income tax deduction on contributions made to the MI 529 Advisor Plan up to $10,000 for married couples filing jointly or $5,000 for individuals filing single per year. A Michigan taxpayer is permitted a deduction from Michigan adjusted gross income for a contribution to an account less any Qualified Withdrawals made during the tax year. Amounts transferred from another 529 college savings plan are not eligible for the Michigan income tax deduction.

This material is provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal or investment advice. Michigan and federal tax rules may change in the future and tax benefits are conditioned on meeting certain requirements. Each taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayer's particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

Q:
What are the federal and state tax advantages?

When you contribute to the MI 529 Advisor Plan, your account earnings have the opportunity to grow federal and Michigan income tax-free until withdrawn. Plus, distributions used to pay for qualified higher education expenses will be free from federal and Michigan income tax. Earnings are subject to income taxes and may be subject to additional tax penalties. Please consult your tax professional.

Q:
What are the federal estate and gift tax benefits?

Contributions are generally considered completed gifts for federal transfer tax purposes and are, therefore, potentially subject to federal gift tax. Generally, if a contributor’s contributions to Accounts for a Designated Beneficiary, together with all other gifts by the contributor to the Designated Beneficiary, do not exceed the “annual exclusion” amount of $14,000 per year (or $28,000 for a married couple), no federal gift tax will be imposed on the contributor for gifts to the Designated Beneficiary during that year.

Q:
Where do I get information on the plan’s performance?

The MI 529 Advisor plan’s performance for the 20 investment options is available online. Go to Historical Performance.

Q:
What are my investment choices?

The MI 529 Advisor Plan offers you a choice of twenty investment options. These options vary in their investment strategy and degree of risk, allowing you to select an option or combination of options that may fit your needs. To see the list of investment options, brief descriptions and associated fees and expenses, visit Researching Investments. For more information on the risks involved in investing in such investment options, and the type of investor for whom each investment option may be appropriate, read the Disclosure Booklet (PDF).

Q:
Do I have to use my account at a Michigan college or university?

No. The money in your account may be used at any eligible educational institution. This includes public and private colleges and universities, graduate and post-graduate schools, community colleges, and certain proprietary and vocational schools.

Q:
Are there any fees associated with opening a Michigan 529 Advisor Plan account?

There are no annual maintenance or set-up fees. The total annual asset-based fee for each Investment Option ranges from 1.07% to 1.94% (excluding the Principal Plus Interest Option). The Program Manager is paid a program management fee at an annual rate of 0.32% of the average daily net assets of each of the Investment Options (excluding any assets in the Principal Plus Interest Option).

A State administrative fee is paid to the Michigan Department of Treasury at an annual rate of 0.05% of the average daily net assets. For details on the management fee, please see fees and expenses.

About 529 Plans

Q:
Who qualifies as members of the family?

A “member of the family” of a beneficiary is a person related to that beneficiary as follows: (i) a son or daughter or a descendant of either; (ii) a stepson or stepdaughter; (iii) a brother, sister, stepbrother or stepsister; (iv) the father or mother or an ancestor of either; (v) a stepfather or stepmother; (vi) a son or daughter of a brother or sister; (vii) a brother or sister of the father or mother; (viii) a son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law or sister-in-law; (ix) the spouse of the beneficiary or of any of the other foregoing individuals; or (x) a first cousin of the beneficiary. For this purpose, a child includes a legally adopted child and a brother or sister includes a half-brother or half-sister.

Q:
Will participation in Michigan 529 Advisor Plan affect my eligibility for financial aid?

The treatment of investments in a 529 savings plan varies by school. Assets are typically treated as the account holder’s and not the student’s. (Student assets are generally assessed at 20% whereas parental assets are generally assessed at 5.6%.) Any investments, including those in 529 accounts, may affect the student’s eligibility to get financial aid based on need. You should check with the schools you are considering regarding this issue.

Q:
If I move out of Michigan, what will happen to my account?

If you move to another state, you can still keep your money invested in your Plan account. You can also continue contributing money to your account. Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your designated beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.

Q:
Do I have to use my account at a Michigan college or university?

No. The money in your account may be used at any eligible educational institution. This includes public and private colleges and universities, graduate and post-graduate schools, community colleges, and certain proprietary and vocational schools.

Q:
Do I need an account for each child?

With the MI 529 Advisor Plan, you can change the designated beneficiary once per calendar year. So assuming none of your children will be attending college during the same years, it’s possible to use the same plan for multiple beneficiaries.

However, you might want to open an account for each child. Speak with your financial advisor about your circumstances to help determine your best path forward.

Q:
How do I compare college savings options?
Q:
Who is the plan manager?

TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) is the plan manager. Nuveen Securities, LLC ("Nuveen") is the distributor. TFI and Nuveen is a subsidiary of TIAA. TIAA is a full-service financial services group of companies that has dedicated itself to helping those in the academic, medical, cultural, and research fields for over 90 years. Our clear and long-held commitment to serving the financial best interests of those who serve the benefit and enlightenment of others has never and will never change.

Q:
Do I need to live in the same state that I have my plan in?

No. You may, for example, live in Michigan and have a Plan in Connecticut. If you move out-of-state, you have the option to keep your plan in the state you moved from.

However, keep in mind each state’s plan includes tax advantages only available to residents of that state. By not participating in the plan for the state where you’re a resident, you will not be eligible for those tax incentives. You can always rollover your current 529 plan into another state’s 529 account.

Q:
What if my child gets a full or partial scholarship?

If the beneficiary receives a scholarship that covers the cost of qualified expenses, you can withdraw the funds from your account up to the amount of the scholarship without penalty or additional tax. The earnings portion of the amount withdrawn will be subject to the additional 10% federal tax to the extent the amount withdrawn exceeds the amount of the scholarship. Please consult with a qualified tax advisor or consultant.

Q:
What is a 529 Plan?

Just as a 401(k) plan is for retirement savings, a 529 plan is for college savings. 529 refers to Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. By federal law, all 529 college savings plans generally must be state sponsored. Residents of any state can invest in any state’s 529 plan; you do not need to be a resident of a particular state to invest in that state’s plan. However, there may be tax advantages available only to state residents for any particular state-sponsored plan. There are several types of 529 plans, including state-sponsored college savings plans and state-sponsored prepaid plans. With all 529 plans—both savings, and prepaid—there is no income limit for participation. You can even open an account for yourself. Use our side-by-side comparison to compare features and benefits of these plans.

Q:
How does a 529 plan compare to other investment choices, such as custodial accounts?

To compare features of 529 plans and custodial accounts, use our side-by-side comparison.

Q:
How do I know which educational institutions are eligible?

Contact your school to determine if it qualifies as an eligible educational institution or use the Federal School Code Search on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website.

Q:
How do 529 plans vary?

529 plans vary in a number of ways, including contribution limits to the account (defined by the states), fees to open and maintain an account, in-state tax treatments such as a state tax deduction, investment options offered, and the financial services company that manages the plan. There may also be other differences, such as special programs or benefits defined by the particular plan. Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your designated beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.

Q:
Can I use the money at schools outside the US?

Yes, 529 Plan assets can be used at some accredited foreign schools. Contact your school to determine if it qualifies as an eligible educational institution.

Q:
What if my beneficiary decides not go to college?

If the beneficiary of an account does not attend college, the account owner may name another beneficiary for the account who must be a certain member of the family of the original beneficiary (See definition of “member of the family”). Otherwise, if the funds are withdrawn for a purpose other than to pay for qualified higher education expenses (except in the event of a beneficiary’s death, disability, scholarship or attendance at a military academy), or they are treated as withdrawn (for example, if an ineligible beneficiary is named) there will be a 10% additional federal tax on the earnings, plus regular federal and state taxes. See the Plan Information and Details section for more info.

Account Management

Q:
How come my spouse and I cannot be joint owners?

As part of the guidelines set forth by the IRS, there can only be one account owner for 529 accounts, but you can designate an account successor in the event of your death.

Q:
I have forgotten my Username/password, can you assist me getting back online?

If you’ve already opened a 529 account but you’ve forgotten your password, you may reset it by clicking this link and following the instructions.

Q:
How do I re-set my password?

To reset your password, login into your account through this link and follow the instructions.

Q:
How do I establish online access?

If you open an account online, you’ll be automatically set up with online access. If you enroll by mail, you’ll need to set up an account separately.

To do so, click Log In from the homepage of your MI 529 Advisor Plan account, select Set Up Access from the drop down menu, and Register under new user.

Be sure to you have your Social Security Number and Date of Birth. Create a Username. Create a Password, set up your security questions, your eDelivery options and you’re done.

Q:
How do I sign up for e-Delivery?

If you’d like to receive your account statements and/or Plan disclosure electronically, click here to adjust your e-Delivery options.

Q:
How do I keep track of my account?

You have online access to your account information 24 hours a day, or you can call and speak to one of our college-savings specialists. For Account Owners: 1-866-529-8818, Monday to Friday, 8:30AM to 6:00PM ET. For Financial Advisors: 1-800-752-8700, Monday to Friday, 8:00AM to 7:00PM ET. You’ll receive quarterly and annual statements that show account activity. A separate confirmation statement will also be mailed, which lists every transaction made to the account. (Quarterly statements will be provided for periodic payment plans.) Log in to your account.

Q:
Can family members and friends make changes to my MI 529 Advisor Plan account?

No. As the account owner, you have complete control of your account. Family members and friends can only contribute to your account. They cannot perform any other transactions. Your account remains secure.

Q:
How can I change bank info, change my address, or other account information?

To update your account information, including payment information, login here.

Q:
Will I receive a confirmation if an account is established, or future contributions made, for my beneficiary by someone else?

No. Only the account owner will receive a confirmation statement when an account is established and funds are contributed. If a friend or family member opens an account for your child, they will need to inform you or the child about the account, and any contributions they make.

Q:
My ex-spouse and I are both contributing. How do I get the current account information?

Account ownership cannot be shared. Only the current account owner may access account information, and there can only be one owner per account.

If you want control over the MI 529 Advisor Plan account you’re making contributions to, opening a new account only takes $25 with the help of your financial advisor may make sense.

Account Opening

Q:
What is the minimum I need to get started?

You can open an account with as little as $25.

Q:
Who can open an account?

Any individual with a Social Security number or federal Taxpayer Identification Number who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien can open an account and contribute to the MI 529 Advisor Plan account on behalf of any beneficiary. An organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an estate or a trust may also open an account. Such entities will be subject to additional restrictions or administrative requirements and may not open an account online or participate in e-Delivery. You can even open an account for yourself. Speak with your financial advisor on opening an account today.

Q:
Are there any fees associated with opening a Michigan 529 Advisor Plan account?

There are no annual maintenance or set-up fees. The total annual asset-based fee for each Investment Option ranges from 1.07% to 1.94% (excluding the Principal Plus Interest Option). The Program Manager is paid a program management fee at an annual rate of 0.32% of the average daily net assets of each of the Investment Options (excluding any assets in the Principal Plus Interest Option).

A State administrative fee is paid to the Michigan Department of Treasury at an annual rate of 0.05% of the average daily net assets. For details on the management fee, please see fees and expenses.

Q:
How do I open an account?

You can download an application and work with your financial advisor on submitting it back to establish the Plan. Your financial advisor can also request an Enrollment Kit to have enrollment materials mailed to their office. Allow five to seven days for delivery.

Q:
How do I open a 529 plan without a financial advisor?

Investors have many choices including direct-sold and pre-paid 529 plans that can be opened without a financial advisor. Michigan residents may want to check out misaves.org (direct-sold website) or michigan.gov/setwithmet (pre-paid plan).

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Beneficiaries

Q:
What happens in the event of death or disability of the beneficiary?

If a distribution (withdrawal) is made due to the death or disability of the beneficiary, the earnings portion of such a withdrawal is subject to federal income tax but not to the 10% additional federal tax.

Q:
Who can be the beneficiary of an account?

Any U.S. citizen or resident, including the account holder, can be the beneficiary. The beneficiary must have a valid Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number.

Q:
Can I change the beneficiary of my account?

Yes, you can change your beneficiary at any time or transfer a portion of your investment to a different eligible beneficiary. The new beneficiary must be an eligible member of the previous beneficiary’s family. Click here to get more information about changing your beneficiary.

Q:
Can my beneficiary have more than one MI 529 Advisor Plan account?

Each account can have only one account owner and one beneficiary. However, each beneficiary may have more than one account, and you may open separate accounts for as many different beneficiaries as you wish. Family members and friends may open a separate account for your beneficiary. They will need to know the Social Security Number and (SSN) or Federal Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of your beneficiary before they can finalize the enrollment process. Or, they can designate themselves as the beneficiary and change the beneficiary at any time once they receive the appropriate SSN or federal TIN.

Contributions

Q:
How much should I contribute?

While $25 dollar is the minimum contribution for gift givers and owner contributions (or $15 through payroll deduction), the answer to this question depends on your life situation, investment horizon, and goals.

Generally, you want to save as much as you can. The more you can save the less dependent you’ll be on loans and other forms of financial aid. Still not sure? Try our 529 college savings projector.

Q:
Should I open a new account or contribute to an existing account?

Whether you choose to open an account or contribute to an existing 529 plan really depends on your circumstances. With a 529 plan, the account owner controls the funds and account information, including the designated beneficiary.

So if you’re the person who primarily funds the college savings, you may want to open an account. That way, you can change the investment options, beneficiary, and more.

Otherwise, it might be easier to contribute to an existing 529 plan. Just keep in mind the owner of that account has the right to change the beneficiary and controls how the funds get used.

Q:
Are contributions made pre-tax or after-tax to the MI 529 Advisor Plan account?

Contributions to MI 529 Advisor Plan account are always made after-tax regardless of the method in which an account owner is contributing to the account.

Q:
Are contributions to MI 529 Advisor Plan account federal tax deductible?

No, contributions to MI 529 Advisor Plan or any 529 plan are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Q:
How do I contribute to MI 529 Advisor Plan?

You can open an account by check, through the automatic contribution plan, by electronic funds transfer (including electronic purchase option), or through a transfer of funds between accounts or a rollover. The minimum contribution required to open an account is $25 per investment portfolio. The minimum amount for subsequent contributions is also $25 per investment portfolio. For payroll deductions, the minimum contribution is $15 per investment portfolio per pay period. Each account can have only one account owner and one beneficiary. However, each beneficiary may have more than one account and, you may open separate accounts for as many different beneficiaries as you wish. Find out how to contribute.

Q:
What is the maximum I can contribute to an account?

There is no annual limit on the amount you may contribute. However, there is an overall maximum account balance limit of $500,000 which applies to all accounts opened for a beneficiary. An account owner may contribute to a beneficiary’s account if, at the time of the contribution, the total balance of all accounts for that beneficiary does not exceed $500,000. Accounts that have reached the maximum account balance limit may continue to accrue earnings.

Q:
What is the contribution tax deadline?

The yearly contribution tax deadline is 12/31.

Gifting

Q:
How will my gift contribution be invested?

Gift contributions are invested in the investment option for the account chosen by the Account Owner. As a gift giver, you can only contribute to the account and have no control over the investment selection for the account.

Q:
Is there a minimum amount for gifting?

Yes, as with regular contributions, the minimum amount friends and family members may contribute (gift) to your existing account is $25.

Q:
How does the account owner know that I sent a gift?

You can symbolize your gift by presenting a Michigan 529 Advisor Plan gift certificate. Just download it, fill it out, and present it to your child or loved one. Account owners also receive written confirmations for contributions made via check or one-time online contributions.

Q:
What are the federal and state tax advantages?

When you contribute to the MI 529 Advisor Plan, your account earnings have the opportunity to grow federal and Michigan income tax-free until withdrawn. Plus, distributions used to pay for qualified higher education expenses will be free from federal and Michigan income tax. Earnings are subject to income taxes and may be subject to additional tax penalties. Please consult your tax professional.

Q:
Will I receive a confirmation of the gifts submitted to my MI 529 Advisor Plan account?

Yes. Account owners receive written confirmations for contributions made via check or one-time online contributions (not ACP or payroll).

Q:
Will I receive a confirmation when I open a new MI 529 Advisor Plan account as a gift?

Yes. If you open an account online you will receive both an online and written confirmation. If you mail in your enrollment materials, you will receive a confirmation in the mail.

Q:
Can family members and friends open a new MI 529 Advisor Plan account as a gift for my beneficiary?

Yes. Anyone with a Social Security Number (SSN) or federal Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) can open an account with as little as $25 ($15 if his or her employer offers payroll deduction.) They will need to know the SSN or federal TIN of your beneficiary to complete the enrollment process. Or, they can designate themselves as the beneficiary and change the beneficiary at any time once they receive the appropriate SSN or federal TIN. They can symbolize their gift by downloading a Gift of Education Certificate and presenting it to the beneficiary.

Q:
How do I gift to an MI 529 Advisor Plan account or contribute to an existing account?

You can help a child or loved one pay for the rising costs of college by opening a new Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) account as a gift or by making a gift contribution to an existing account. To open a new account, enroll online, download enrollment materials or request an enrollment kit by mail. To contribute to an existing account, follow the instructions on our gifting page.

Q:
How can an account owner invite family and friends to give a gift?

You may invite family and friends to make gift contributions by creating and sending out a gift invitation.

Investments

Q:
Which investment portfolio or option is best for me?

The answer to this question will depend on various factors, including your life situtation, investment horizon, risk tolerance, and goals. We encourage you to speak with your financial advisor.

Q:
Can I change my investment selection?

Yes. Each time you make a contribution you may select any one of the nine Investment Options. Once invested in a particular investment option, contributions and any earnings may be transferred to another investment option twice per calendar year or upon a transfer of funds to a MI 529 Advisor Plan account for a different eligible beneficiary (see the Plan Disclosure Booklet for more information). Rebalance online or use the Rebalance Form.

Q:
Can I select the investments for my account?

You may choose among the 20 Plan Investment Options, but not the underlying mutual funds or other investment vehicles to which funds in the investment option may be allocated. Under federal law, an account owner may not have direct or indirect control over the investments in a 529 Plan. See the Plan Disclosure Booklet for a list of underlying funds.

Q:
What are my investment choices?

The MI 529 Advisor Plan offers you a choice of twenty investment options. These options vary in their investment strategy and degree of risk, allowing you to select an option or combination of options that may fit your needs. To see the list of investment options, brief descriptions and associated fees and expenses, visit Researching Investments. For more information on the risks involved in investing in such investment options, and the type of investor for whom each investment option may be appropriate, read the Disclosure Booklet (PDF).

Q:
Where do I get information on the plan’s performance?

The MI 529 Advisor plan’s performance for the 20 investment options is available online. Go to Historical Performance.

Q:
What are the rates of return for MI 529 Advisor Plan’s investments?

You can view the historical performance behind the MI 529 Advisor Plan investments.

Q:
Can I see a list of the underlying funds?

Yes, you can view the underlying funds for our Age-Based Portfolio Options and Multi-Fund Portfolio Options by visiting these pages and clicking the "View Underlying Mutual Funds" link associated with each allocation.

Taxes

Q:
What is the Generation Skipping Tax?

Transfer of funds or a change in beneficiary is subject to the Generation Skipping Tax (GST) if the new beneficiary is two or more generations below the prior beneficiary. If transfer is subject to GST, tax is imposed on the prior beneficiary. Account owners should consult their own tax advisors for guidance when considering a change of beneficiary or a transfer to another account.

Q:
What is the contribution tax deadline?

The yearly contribution tax deadline is 12/31.

Q:
How are withdrawals for non-qualified expenses taxed?

A non-qualified withdrawal is any withdrawal that does not meet the requirements of being: (1) a qualified withdrawal; (2) a taxable withdrawal; or (3) a rollover. The earnings portion of a non-qualified withdrawal is subject to federal income taxation and the additional 10% federal tax. See the Disclosure Booklet for details.

Q:
How are withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses taxed?

If you are taking a withdrawal to pay for qualified higher education expenses of the beneficiary, there will be no federal or Michigan income tax. Find out how to make a withdrawal.

Q:
Is there a Michigan income tax deduction?

Michigan taxpayers may also be eligible for a Michigan income tax deduction on contributions made to the MI 529 Advisor Plan up to $10,000 for married couples filing jointly or $5,000 for individuals filing single per year. A Michigan taxpayer is permitted a deduction from Michigan adjusted gross income for a contribution to an account less any Qualified Withdrawals made during the tax year. Amounts transferred from another 529 college savings plan are not eligible for the Michigan income tax deduction.

This material is provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal or investment advice. Michigan and federal tax rules may change in the future and tax benefits are conditioned on meeting certain requirements. Each taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayer's particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

Q:
What are the federal estate and gift tax benefits?

Contributions are generally considered completed gifts for federal transfer tax purposes and are, therefore, potentially subject to federal gift tax. Generally, if a contributor’s contributions to Accounts for a Designated Beneficiary, together with all other gifts by the contributor to the Designated Beneficiary, do not exceed the “annual exclusion” amount of $14,000 per year (or $28,000 for a married couple), no federal gift tax will be imposed on the contributor for gifts to the Designated Beneficiary during that year.

Transfers

Q:
How do I do an internal transfer?

With the MI 529 Advisor Plan, you may transfer account ownership at any time. Please note, this assignment is an irrevocable action where you transfer all rights, title, and interest in the account to another owner. You will no longer have access or control of any part of the account.

Keep in mind this process is distinct from changing beneficiaries, where you’re changing who can receive the account funds, or rebalancing your funds where you’re changing one or more of your investments. Talk to your financial advisor about your options.

Q:
Can assets from an UGMA/UTMA account be transferred to a Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) account ?

Yes, though transferring UGMA/UTMA assets into a 529 plan account may result in a tax liability. You should discuss this with your financial advisor. UGMA/UTMA accounts cannot be opened online. Get the Custodial Application or the Additional Contribution by Mail form.

Q:
Can I rollover funds from another 529 plan into a Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) account?

You are permitted to transfer funds from another 529 college savings plan to an account in Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) for the same beneficiary once within a 12-month period without incurring federal income tax. The 529 college savings plan from which you are transferring funds may be subject to differences in features, costs and surrender charges. You should consult your tax advisor or the other 529 college savings plan. State and local taxes may apply. How to Manage an Incoming Rollover from another 529 Account.

Q:
Can I transfer assets in a Coverdell Education Savings Account to a Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) account?

Yes, but you should discuss this with your financial advisor to determine whether there are any tax or other consequences. How to redeem proceeds from a Coverdell ESA or Qualified US Savings Bond.

Withdrawals

Q:
Is paying off a student loan a qualified higher education expense?

No. Repayment of student loans is not considered a qualified higher education expense.

Q:
What are the qualified higher education expenses?

Qualified higher education expenses include tuition, certain room and board expenses, fees, and the cost of books, supplies, and equipment required for the enrollment and attendance of the Beneficiary at an eligible educational institution. Computers and related technology such as internet access fees, software or printers are also qualified education expenses. The student must be the primary user of the equipment.

Qualified higher education expenses also include certain additional enrollment and attendant costs of a beneficiary who is a special needs beneficiary in connection with the beneficiary’s enrollment or attendance at an eligible institution. For this purpose, an eligible educational institution generally includes accredited postsecondary educational institutions offering credit toward a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, a graduate-level degree or professional degree, or another recognized postsecondary credential.

Q:
What is a taxable withdrawal?

Taxable withdrawals are withdrawals due to the beneficiary’s death, the permanent disability of the beneficiary, the beneficiary’s receipt of a scholarship award or certain other tax-free amounts, or the beneficiary’s attendance at a military academy. A taxable withdrawal will be subject to applicable federal income tax on earnings, if any, but will not be subject to the 10% additional federal tax on earnings (the “Additional Tax”).

Q:
What room and board expenses are covered?

The beneficiary must be enrolled at least half time at an eligible post-secondary institution that leads to a recognized educational credential in order for room and board to be considered an eligible qualified higher education expense. For students living at home with parents, as well as students living in non-campus housing, the eligible educational institution’s “cost of attendance” allowance for purposes of determining eligibility for federal education assistance for that year will be the room and board amount treated as a qualified higher education expense. For students living in housing owned or operated by the eligible educational institution, if the actual invoice amount charged by the eligible educational institution for room and board is higher than the “cost of attendance” figure, then the actual invoice amount may be treated as qualified room and board costs.

Q:
What is a non-qualified withdrawal?

A non-qualified withdrawal is any withdrawal that does not meet the requirements of being: (1) a qualified withdrawal; (2) a taxable withdrawal; or (3) a rollover. The earnings portion of a non-qualified withdrawal is subject to federal income taxation, and the additional 10% federal tax. Recapture provisions apply. See the Plan Information and Details section for more info.

Q:
Can I take a distribution from both an MESP and Coverdell Education Savings Account to pay for expenses in the same year?

Yes. However, you must apply the distributions to different eligible expenses in order to obtain the favorable tax treatment. See IRS Publication 970 for more detail or consult your tax advisor.

Q:
How do I withdraw money to pay for college?

When you want to withdraw money (take a distribution) from your account, you may request a withdrawal from your account online that will be sent directly to your bank account via Automated Clearing House,* as long as your banking information has been on file with your account for at least 30 days and your address has not changed within the last 30 days. You may continue to request a withdrawal by using the Withdrawal Form (PDF). This form can be used for withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses of your beneficiary, non-qualified withdrawals, or withdrawals due to death, disability or scholarship. Note: Non-qualified withdrawals will be subject to federal and state income taxes and a 10% additional federal tax. Be sure to keep your receipts.

*Automated Clearing House payments may take several days to be deposited into your bank account.

Q:
Are computers, tablets and associated costs considered qualified higher education expenses?

Computers and related technology such as internet access fees, software or printers are also qualified education expenses. The student must be the primary user of the equipment.

Q:
Can I deposit a refund for dropped courses back into the Michigan Education Savings Program?

Yes – funds may be redeposited to your 529 plan within 60 days without penalty should a student need to withdraw from a class. The recontributed amount cannot exceed the amount of the refund.

Online Access

Q:
I forgot BOTH my username and password?

Unfortunately, if you are having difficulty with both your username and password, you cannot retrieve this information via the website. For assistance with accessing your account, please contact our operations area. For Account Owners: 1-866-529-8818, Monday to Friday, 8:30AM to 6:00PM ET, excluding holidays. For Financial Advisors: 1-800-752-8700, Monday to Friday, 8:00AM to 7:00PM ET, excluding holidays. They can assist you with accessing your account.

Q:
I forgot my username?

If you’ve forgotten your username, you can retrieve it by clicking this link. You will need to enter your password and other information.

Q:
I forgot my password?

If you’ve forgotten your password, you may reset it by clicking this link. You will need to enter your Username and Security Question answer, and then click on the “Forgot / Reset password?” link, and follow the instructions.

Q:
When I try to access my account, I am receiving security questions that I did not establish?

Please make sure that you are entering the correct username. If you still need assistance, please contact our operations area. For Account Owners: 1-866-529-8818, Monday to Friday, 8:30AM to 6:00PM ET, excluding holidays. For Financial Advisors: 1-800-752-8700, Monday to Friday, 8:00AM to 7:00PM ET, excluding holidays.

Q:
How do I unlock my account?

If your account has been locked please contact our operations area. For Account Owners: 1-866-529-8818, Monday to Friday, 8:30AM to 6:00PM ET, excluding holidays. For Financial Advisors: 1-800-752-8700, Monday to Friday, 8:00AM to 7:00PM ET, excluding holidays. They can assist you with unlocking your account. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Q:
How do I change my password?

To change your password, login into your account through this link and follow the instructions.

Other

Q:
Can a HOPE/American Opportunity Credit of Lifetime Learning Credit for qualified tuition and other related expenses still be taken?

A student or the student’s parent may claim a Hope Scholarship Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit for certain qualified education expenses, provided that eligibility requirements for the credit are met. However, you cannot claim a credit based on the same expenses used to figure the tax-free portion of a distribution (withdrawal) from a 529 plan. You should consult the current version of IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, for information about other tax incentives available for educational expenses.

Q:
What is the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, otherwise called a Custodian Account?

Since in most states minors don’t have the right to contract — and therefore cannot own stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, or insurance policies. The Uniform Gifts to Minors Act and Uniform Transfer to Minors Act are ways for minors to own those securities without an attorney needing to set up a special trust fund.

Q:
Where can I find help with scholarships and financial aid?

You can find lots more information about scholarships, loans, and other forms of financial aid here.

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