529 Qualified Expenses and Off Campus Housing

Maura Schauss |

Ann D. Blakey, CFP® and Nina L. Falci at Washington Wealth Advisors

It’s the time of the summer when tuition and room & board bills are starting to arrive.

If you have a 529 Plan and your child is living on campus, figuring out the amount to submit to your 529 Plan administrator is straight forward. You simply pull the amounts for tuition and room & board off the bill and use that as a basis for your 529 Plan distribution.

Off Campus Living Expenses and 529 Plans

However, if your child will be living off campus this fall, you have a little more homework to do. The FIDELITY®  link below discusses 529 Plan eligible expenses in general, and off campus housing, in particular.

The reference to "Cost of Attendance" is a specific set of numbers calculated by each university. Please go to your child’s college or university website, type in "Cost of Attendance" in the search tool to find the information for your child’s college or university or contact the department which oversees receiving tuition.*

Fidelity® article: How to spend from a 529 college plan

In addition, we’d like to share this helpful article related to spending your funds from 529 Plans. Key takeaways:

  • Withdrawals from 529 plans are not taxed at the federal level—as long as you understand and follow all the rules for qualifying expenses. You'll have to report your 529 plan spending to the IRS, so keeping careful records is important.
  • Decide ahead of time how you'll withdraw the funds and use them.
  • You'll also want to plan ahead for any tax credits you may qualify for, which could help you decide how much you need to take from your 529 account.
  • 529 savings plans aren't just for college. You can spend up to $10,000 from a 529 plan on tuition expenses for elementary, middle, or high school.

Read the full Fidelity® article

Washington Wealth Advisors is Here to Help You Navigate

Please connect with our advisors should you or a member of your family like to establish your college savings approach or put your education savings plan into action.  Book your appointment online, call 703.584.2700 or email clientservices@washingtonwealthadv.com. 


* If your child is attending a college or trade school away from home which does not offer on campus housing as an option, and therefore does not have on campus housing information to use as a benchmark, please contact your tax advisor and/or 529 Plan administrator for guidance.





Washington Wealth Advisors is a fee-only registered investment advisory firm serving busy families, executives, women building wealth, and small business owners. We provide Wealth Advisory Services—financial planning coupled with asset management—guided by a personalized investment strategy based on each client’s unique goals. Our fiduciary approach, independent advice, and proactive investment management help to support our clients’ overall financial peace of mind.

Source: Fidelity®