What Is a 529 College Savings Plan?

When thinking about college or career training, trying to figure out how to pay for everything can be overwhelming. And while many students and parents know they should probably be saving money, knowing how—and where—to start doing so can be a challenge.

How Do I Start?

Saving for college—especially through a 529 college savings plan—can be simpler than you might think. You can talk to a financial advisor or your bank for options. Additionally, Idaho has its own college savings program, IDeal, that can be a smart option for many families.

When Should We Start Saving?

In a perfect world, families start saving for college when a student is very young. But while it’s never too early to start saving, it’s also never too late. Even if your student is in high school already, putting aside money can still help you save for school and provide other perks, like tax benefits.

We Can Only Save a Little Bit Each Month. Is That Okay?

Definitely. Every little bit helps! Even small deposits add up over time. Additionally, programs like IDeal offer the option of having money automatically deposited into your college savings account each month to make the process even easier.

Contributions to your college savings account can also be a great gift idea for birthdays, graduations, and other important milestones.

What Can the Money Be Used for?

Money put aside in a 529 college savings account can be used for more than just tuition. Books, additional fees, and even room and board can be covered.

529 College savings accounts can pay for for a wide variety of schools, too: public schools, private schools, community colleges, and even vocational schools all qualify. And money saved in an IDeal account doesn’t have to be used only for Idaho colleges; the money can be used even if your student decides to go to school in another state.

The most important thing to know about saving—and paying for—college is that you always have options. Whether you’re starting early or starting late, or saving a little or saving a lot, the benefits are significant. Talk to a financial adviser or head to the IDeal website for more information.