529 College Savings Plan Funds

A 529 Plan is an educational savings plan operated by a state educational institution designed to help families’ set-aside funds for future college cost. Students enrolling or returning to MSU may have some expenses paid through a 529 plan. Parents of students may withdraw the funds they have worked so hard to accumulate in their 529 plans, education savings plans with tax benefits.  However, before parents request funds from their plan administrator or adviser, they have to be aware of key details, such as when tuition is due and how long it takes to ask for a distribution of funds and receive the check.

Parents should follow the following steps to withdraw funds from a 529-college savings plan:

1. Review the tuition payment due dates: Your first step in planning when to take distributions from a 529 plan is to look at the Payment Deadline for the semester you are requesting the funds for. You should start the process of requesting funds at least 5 to 10 days before payment is required.

2. Estimate time needed to cash out investments: The amount of time varies to withdraw money from a 529 plan because it is not as simple as calling the plan administrator or adviser to cut a check.

While some plans contain only money market or savings accounts, most accounts contain mutual funds or short-term bonds. This means there has to be a settlement period for noncash investments to be sold or traded.

For example, a parent calls a plan administrator on Monday and tells them, 'I need $5,000.' The plan administrator will place the trades. The funds won't be available till Thursday. The check is then cut Friday. By comparison, he notes, investments that are solely in savings or money markets are available the same or next day.

3. Consider potential delays: If you deposit a $10,000 check and your average checking account balance is $2,000, your bank is probably not going to turn around and let you have access to that money the next day. If you deposit a check larger than your current balance, the bank is likely going to put a one, two, or maybe three-day hold.

4. Decide where tuition checks should be sent: It is recommended that parents have 529 distribution checks sent directly to MSU. Make check payable to Montclair State University. Please have student’s CWID number indicated on the check.

Check should be mailed to:

Montclair State University

Office of Student Accounts

College Hall Room 218

Montclair, NJ 07043

Note: If you chose to have 529 distribution check sent to you, after the check clears your account, you may remit payment through one of the Payment Options.

5. Request distributions: Once you complete your research of deadlines and tuition cost, it's time to request funds. If you are enrolled in plans through an advisor you should contact him or her when ready to withdraw funds. Owners of direct 529 plans should contact the plan administrator for withdrawals.

Whether you request the check to be sent directly MSU or to you, save all receipts from MSU and from the investment accounts. Since 529 plans have a tax benefit, you might need to prove that 529-plan money was spent on education in the event of an audit.