Resource Library

What is a 529 College Savings Plan?

A 529 plan, often called a college savings plan, is an investment option that was invented to make saving money for future education expenses more attractive.

529 Savings in Idaho; Not Just for College Anymore

IDeal is Idaho’s 529 college savings program. This savings account is similar to a 401k, but for education. People put money into an account semi-regularly; that money is invested and earns even more money; the account holder—or designated beneficiary—remove funds but only at a particular time or to pay for particular things. In this case, education. In Idaho, ‘education’ is a pretty big umbrella.

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?

529 plans have always been designated for college tuition, fees, books, room and board, and dozens of other related expenses. It is important to note that the IDeal 529 Savings Program can be used to pay for this type of education in any state.

However, the Idaho legislature also expanded the uses for IDeal 529 plans to include trade schools and two-year colleges or programs. There is no age limit to using the savings account and all donors (even grandparents and friends who contribute to a student’s 529 account) will receive a state tax deduction for their contributions. IDeal 529 funds even cover tuition for K–12 education, up to $10,000 a year.

IDeal plans can also pay for:

  •       Apprenticeship costs
  •       Student loan repayment, up to $10,000 over a lifetime

The best part(s)—other than a savings account that literally grows money—are the tax benefits; for the account holder and anyone who touches it. For instance, if a business matches their employees’ 529 contributions the employer can earn up to $500 in tax breaks, per employee.

Remember to talk to your accountant and claim all of the perks surrounding your 529 savings fund during tax season. You can even opt to direct deposit your Idaho Tax refund into your IDeal account if you wanted.


  • placeholder
    Idahoans Explain How the Program Works

    Source: IDeal 529 - Idaho College Savings Program

  • placeholder
    How Much Will College Cost in 2022

    Source: IDeal 529 - Idaho College Savings Program

Related Resources