Edvest College Savings 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:
Is there a Wisconsin income tax deduction?

If you are a Wisconsin taxpayer, your contributions to Edvest may be subtracted from your Wisconsin taxable income up to a maximum of $3,100 per beneficiary ($1,550 for divorced parents of a beneficiary) for the 2016 tax year. The same limits apply for the 2017 tax year.

You may also contribute greater than the eligible amount and use for subsequent years’ state tax benefits until exhausted. As an example, a $10,000 contribution may qualify for benefits over three, four, or more tax years.

For more details, including treatment of rollovers, non-qualified withdrawals, withdrawals taken within 365 days of a contribution and recapture provisions, read the Disclosure Booklet and check with your tax advisor.

Q:
Are there any fees associated with opening an Edvest College Savings Plan account?

An annual asset-based management fee will be paid to TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. to cover the cost of investment management and administrative services. The estimated underlying investment expenses range from 0.06% to 0.35%. The Principal Plus Interest Portfolio has no underlying fund expense. Please note that the State of Wisconsin reserves the right to change the current fee and impose new or additional fees, expenses, charges or penalties in the future. For details on the management fee, please see fees and expenses.

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

Contributions to a Edvest College Savings Plan account may help you reduce the taxable value of your estate. Contributions to the Plan, together with all other gifts from the account owner to the beneficiary, may qualify for an annual federal gift tax exclusion of $14,000 per donor ($28,000 for married contributors), per beneficiary. If an account owner’s contribution to a Plan account for a beneficiary in a single year exceeds $14,000 ($28,000 for married contributors), the account owner may elect to treat up to $70,000 of the contributions, or $140,000 for joint filers, as having been made over a period of up to five years for federal gift tax exclusion. Consult your tax advisor.

Q:
What are the federal and state tax advantages?

When you contribute to the Edvest College Savings Plan, any account earnings can grow federal and Wisconsin income tax free. Plus, withdrawals used to pay for qualified higher education expenses will be free from federal and Wisconsin income tax. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax.

If you are a Wisconsin taxpayer, your contributions to Edvest may reduce Wisconsin taxable income up to a maximum of $3,100 per beneficiary for the 2016 tax year. You do not have to be related to the beneficiary and remember, this tax benefit is per beneficiary so if you’re contributing to accounts for multiple children or grandchildren, you can potentially reduce your Wisconsin taxable income even more. The state tax deadline is April 15 of the following year.

You may also contribute greater than the eligible amount and use for subsequent years’ state tax benefits until exhausted. As an example, a $10,000 contribution may qualify for benefits over three, four, or more tax years.

For more details, including treatment of rollovers, non-qualified withdrawals, withdrawals taken within 365 days of a contribution and recapture provisions, read the Disclosure Booklet and check with your tax advisor.

Q:
Is there a Wisconsin income tax deduction?

If you are a Wisconsin taxpayer, your contributions to Edvest may reduce Wisconsin taxable income up to a maximum of $3,100 per beneficiary for the 2017 tax year. You do not have to be related to the beneficiary and remember, this tax benefit is per beneficiary so if you’re contributing to accounts for multiple children or grandchildren, you can potentially reduce your Wisconsin taxable income even more. The state tax deadline is April 15 of the following year.

You may also contribute greater than the eligible amount and use for subsequent years’ state tax benefits until exhausted. As an example, a $10,000 contribution may qualify for benefits over three, four, or more tax years.

For more details, including treatment of rollovers, non-qualified withdrawals, withdrawals taken within 365 days of a contribution and recapture provisions, read the Disclosure Booklet and check with your tax advisor.

Q:
What are my investment choices?

The Plan offers you a choice of 17 investment options. These investment options vary in their investment strategy and degree of risk, allowing you to select an investment option or combination of investment 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 about investment risks and the type of investor for whom each investment option may be appropriate, read the Disclosure Booklet (PDF).

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 an Edvest College Savings 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. Open an account today.

Q:
Do I have to use my account at a Wisconsin 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, technical colleges, community colleges, proprietary and vocational schools.

What you may first wish to consider is whether your beneficiary is delaying his or her decision. Remember, there is no time limit on using the funds so your beneficiary can be 25 years old and just starting college, aged 30 and attending graduate school, aged 40 and learning new skills, etc.

Q:
How do I sign up for payroll deduction?

If you wish to have contributions automatically taken from your paycheck you’ll first need to check for program availability with your employer and then submit the proper forms by mail.

Q:
Where do I get information on Edvest performance?

Edvest performance for the 17 investment options is available online. Go to Historical Performance.

Q:
Is there a Wisconsin income tax deduction?

If you are a Wisconsin taxpayer, your contributions to Edvest may reduce Wisconsin taxable income up to a maximum of $3,100 per beneficiary for the 2017 tax year. You do not have to be related to the beneficiary and remember, this tax benefit is per beneficiary so if you’re contributing to accounts for multiple children or grandchildren, you can potentially reduce your Wisconsin taxable income even more. The state tax deadline is April 15 of the following year.

You may also contribute greater than the eligible amount and use for subsequent years’ state tax benefits until exhausted. As an example, a $10,000 contribution may qualify for benefits over three, four, or more tax years.

For more details, including treatment of rollovers, non-qualified withdrawals, withdrawals taken within 365 days of a contribution and recapture provisions, read the Disclosure Booklet and check with your tax advisor.

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:
Do I have to use my account at a Wisconsin 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, technical colleges, community colleges, proprietary and vocational schools.

What you may first wish to consider is whether your beneficiary is delaying his or her decision. Remember, there is no time limit on using the funds so your beneficiary can be 25 years old and just starting college, aged 30 and attending graduate school, aged 40 and learning new skills, etc.

Q:
If I move out of Wisconsin, 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:
Will participation in Edvest College Savings 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:
Do I need an account for each child?

With the Edvest College Savings 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. Since it only takes $25 dollars and 15 minutes to open, and Edvest offers simple, all-in-one age-based investments, many parents find it easier to track and manage multiple accounts.

Q:
How do I compare college savings options?

Check out our interactive comparison tool.

Q:
Who is the plan manager?

TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) is the plan manager. TFI 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:
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:
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:
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 does a 529 plan compare to other investment choices, such as custodial accounts?

To compare features of 529 plans and custodial accounts, use our interactive comparison tool.

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. Visit our interactive comparison tool to compare features and benefits of these plans.

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:
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 decides not to attend 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?

The Edvest College Savings Plan allows for one account owner per account, but you can designate a successor account owner in the event of your death.

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 Edvest College Savings Plan account you’re making contributions to, opening a new account only takes $25 and 15 minutes.

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 Edvest College Savings 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. click here to log into your account, and click on “Change Account Statement Delivery.”

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 toll free at 1-888-338-3789, Monday through Friday, 7 am - 7 pm CT. 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, such as payroll deduction.) Log in to your account.

Q:
Can family members and friends make changes to my Edvest College Savings 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.

Account Opening

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 an Edvest College Savings 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. Open an account today.

Q:
Are there any fees associated with opening an Edvest College Savings Plan account?

An annual asset-based management fee will be paid to TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. to cover the cost of investment management and administrative services. The estimated underlying investment expenses range from 0.06% to 0.35%. The Principal Plus Interest Portfolio has no underlying fund expense. Please note that the State of Wisconsin reserves the right to change the current fee and impose new or additional fees, expenses, charges or penalties in the future. For details on the management fee, please see fees and expenses.

Q:
How do I open an account?

You can Enroll Online and submit your initial contribution electronically from your bank account or establish an Automatic Contribution Plan. You can also Download Enrollment Materials, or you can Request an Enrollment Kit to have enrollment materials mailed to your address. Allow five to seven days for delivery.

Beneficiaries

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. Change your beneficiary.

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:
Can my beneficiary have more than one Edvest College Savings 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.

Q:
What is the Systematic Exchange option for contributions to my account?

The Systematic Exchange option provides Edvest account owners with the ability to transfer funds from one or more investment options to one or more different investment options through regularly scheduled transfers. This feature may be of interest to account owners who make one-time contributions to their Edvest account (e.g., tax time contributions, birthday or other special occasion contributions), but would like to “dollar cost average” their purchase of shares of a selected investment option rather than purchase shares based on a single day’s market price. This feature may also be of interest to account owners who wish to rebalance among investment options but over a period of time rather than all at once (e.g., transferring funds to a more conservative investment option in anticipation of qualified withdrawals).

You choose the Source Investment Option from which funds will be transferred from, and the Recipient Investment Option to which the funds will be transferred to. You also choose the amount you would like to transfer on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis. The transfers will continue until the funds are depleted in the Source Investment Option. Alternatively, you may direct that the periodic reallocations from the Source Investment Option continue until a date selected by you.

If you elect the Systematic Exchange option at the time your Edvest account is opened, it will be considered the initial investment allocation for your account. If you elect, change or terminate the Systematic Exchange option for your existing Edvest account, it will be considered a change in investment strategy for previously contributed funds which you are allowed to change twice per calendar year.

Q:
What is the contribution tax deadline?

The yearly contribution tax deadline is 4/15.

Q:
How do I contribute to the Edvest College Savings 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:
Are contributions to an Edvest College Savings Plan account federal tax deductible?

No, contributions to Edvest College Savings Plan or any 529 plan are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Q:
Are contributions made pre-tax or after-tax to a Edvest College Savings Plan account?

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

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 $456,000, 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 $456,000. Accounts that have reached the maximum account balance limit may continue to accrue earnings.

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:
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 $456,000, 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 $456,000. Accounts that have reached the maximum account balance limit may continue to accrue earnings.

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:
How do I gift an Edvest College Savings 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 Edvest College Savings Plan 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:
Can family members and friends open a new Edvest College Savings 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. Remember, friends and family members who are Wisconsin taxpayers may qualify for the state tax advantages.

Q:
Will I receive a confirmation when I open a new Edvest College Savings 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:
Will I receive a confirmation of the gifts submitted to my Edvest College Savings Plan account?

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

Q:
What are the federal and state tax advantages?

When you contribute to the Edvest College Savings Plan, any account earnings can grow federal and Wisconsin income tax free. Plus, withdrawals used to pay for qualified higher education expenses will be free from federal and Wisconsin income tax. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax.

If you are a Wisconsin taxpayer, your contributions to Edvest may reduce Wisconsin taxable income up to a maximum of $3,100 per beneficiary for the 2016 tax year. You do not have to be related to the beneficiary and remember, this tax benefit is per beneficiary so if you’re contributing to accounts for multiple children or grandchildren, you can potentially reduce your Wisconsin taxable income even more. The state tax deadline is April 15 of the following year.

You may also contribute greater than the eligible amount and use for subsequent years’ state tax benefits until exhausted. As an example, a $10,000 contribution may qualify for benefits over three, four, or more tax years.

For more details, including treatment of rollovers, non-qualified withdrawals, withdrawals taken within 365 days of a contribution and recapture provisions, read the Disclosure Booklet and check with your tax advisor.

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

You can symbolize your gift by presenting a Edvest College Savings 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:
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 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:
What do I do if a financial professional tells me I can earn more with one of their investments?

Most states offer two types of college-savings plans: a low-cost plan sold directly by the state and a financial advisor-sold plan. This version may include upfront commissions on the amount invested and higher annual asset-based expenses. The lower expenses of a direct-sold plan could mean more of your money will go toward building your college fund.

Another factor for consideration: residents within states offering 529 tax benefits may wish to calculate the potential savings of investing in the state 529 plan versus an out-of-state plan.

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.

Q:
What are the rates of return for Edvest College Savings Plan plan’s investments?

You can view the historical performance behind Edvest investments.

Q:
Where do I get information on Edvest performance?

Edvest performance for the 17 investment options is available online. Go to Historical Performance.

Q:
What are my investment choices?

The Plan offers you a choice of 17 investment options. These investment options vary in their investment strategy and degree of risk, allowing you to select an investment option or combination of investment 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 about investment risks and the type of investor for whom each investment option may be appropriate, read the Disclosure Booklet (PDF).

Q:
Can I select the investments for my account?

You may choose among the 17 Edvest investment options, but not the underlying mutual funds or other investment vehicles to which funds in the investment portfolio 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:
Can I change my investment selection?

Yes. Each time you make a contribution you may select any one of the 17 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 an Edvest account for a different eligible beneficiary (see the Plan Disclosure Booklet for more information). Rebalance online or use the Rebalance Form.

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. Taking our Risk Tolerance Assessment is a good way to begin.

Payroll Deductions

Q:
How do I sign up for payroll deduction?

If you wish to have contributions automatically taken from your paycheck you’ll first need to check for program availability with your employer and then submit the proper forms by mail.

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 4/15.

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 Wisconsin income tax. Find out how to make a withdrawal.

Q:
Is there a Wisconsin income tax deduction?

If you are a Wisconsin taxpayer, your contributions to Edvest may reduce Wisconsin taxable income up to a maximum of $3,100 per beneficiary for the 2017 tax year. You do not have to be related to the beneficiary and remember, this tax benefit is per beneficiary so if you’re contributing to accounts for multiple children or grandchildren, you can potentially reduce your Wisconsin taxable income even more. The state tax deadline is April 15 of the following year.

You may also contribute greater than the eligible amount and use for subsequent years’ state tax benefits until exhausted. As an example, a $10,000 contribution may qualify for benefits over three, four, or more tax years.

For more details, including treatment of rollovers, non-qualified withdrawals, withdrawals taken within 365 days of a contribution and recapture provisions, read the Disclosure Booklet and check with your tax advisor.

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

Contributions to a Edvest College Savings Plan account may help you reduce the taxable value of your estate. Contributions to the Plan, together with all other gifts from the account owner to the beneficiary, may qualify for an annual federal gift tax exclusion of $14,000 per donor ($28,000 for married contributors), per beneficiary. If an account owner’s contribution to a Plan account for a beneficiary in a single year exceeds $14,000 ($28,000 for married contributors), the account owner may elect to treat up to $70,000 of the contributions, or $140,000 for joint filers, as having been made over a period of up to five years for federal gift tax exclusion. Consult your tax advisor.

Transfers

Q:
How do I do an internal transfer?

With the Edvest College Savings 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.

Q:
Can assets from an UGMA/UTMA account be transferred to a Edvest College Savings Plan 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 an Edvest College Savings Plan account?

You are permitted to transfer funds from another 529 college savings plan to an account in Edvest College Savings Plan 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 an Edvest College Savings Plan 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.

Q:
Can I transfer all or a portion of my Edvest account to my child’s brother or sister?

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 and this includes siblings. Change your beneficiary.

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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:
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.

C28951

Q:
Can I deposit a refund for dropped courses back into Edvest?

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.

C28951

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 via Automated Clearing House* to your bank account, typically within 3 business days, as long as your banking information has been on file for at least 30 days and your address has not changed within the last 30 days. You may also request a withdrawal 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. Allow 7-10 days for mail and processing time. Note: Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state income taxes and a 10% additional federal tax. Keep your receipts.

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

Q:
Can I take a distribution from both a Edvest College Savings Plan 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:
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:
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 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 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.

Gift Cards

Q:
What is an Edvest “GiftofCollege.com” Gift Card?

Gift cards are now available for purchase here in denominations ranging from $25-$500. You may purchase a physical card or an eCard and select delivery to yourself or the gift recipient. Cards may be redeemed at www.Edvest.com/redeem. There is no expiration date for doing so. Convenience charges apply.

Q:
Who can I contact to help me redeem my gift card?

Edvest college savings specialists will be able to assist you with opening your Edvest account. To redeem your Edvest “Gift of College” gift card, please follow the instructions on www.Edvest.com/redeem. If you have questions about the Giftofcollege.com registry and the redemption steps, please contact GiftofCollege.com directly at customerservice@giftofcollege.com.

Q:
Do gift cards expire?

No. There is no expiration date for physical or eGift Cards.

Q:
What if my card is lost or stolen?

If you have lost your card, and the value still remains on that card, please contact Giftofcollege.com support at 855.863.2292 and they will reissue the card. If the card no longer contains value, and you feel that this was fraudulent in nature, an investigation will be conducted. Resolution may require that the customer sign an affidavit with a notary public relative to the missing product. To begin an investigation into such an issue, please contact support.

Q:
What are the gift card convenience charges?

Giftofcollege.com charges a convenience charge as is typical in the gift card industry. The fee structure is as follows:

  • $25 gift card plus $3.95 convenience charge
  • $50 gift card plus $4.95 convenience charge
  • $100 gift card plus $5.95 convenience charge
  • $25-$500 variable load gift card plus $5.95 convenience charge
No portion of the convenience charge goes to the Edvest College Savings Plan, the state of Wisconsin, or TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc.

Q:
Can I purchase an Edvest “Gift of College” Gift Card at a retail outlet?

Not at this time.

Q:
Does my gift card purchase qualify for the Wisconsin state tax reduction?

It does not qualify because it is not a direct purchase into the Edvest College Savings Plan. To gift directly into an Edvest account and potentially qualify for the Wisconsin tax reduction, you may wish to learn more about Edvest eGift and/or making one-time contributions by check or electronic funds transfer (EFT).

Q:
Does my gift recipient need to reside in Wisconsin?

No – the gift recipient may be a resident of any state to receive an Edvest gift card and/or open an Edvest account. However, only Wisconsin residents qualify for state tax benefits.

Q:
Do I have to be a Wisconsin resident to purchase an Edvest “Gift of College” Gift Card?

No – you may be a resident of any state to purchase and Edvest gift card and/or open an Edvest account. However, only Wisconsin residents qualify for state tax benefits.

Q:
How do I redeem an Edvest “GiftofCollege.com” gift card if I am not an Edvest account owner?

Please visit www.Edvest.com/redeem and select the button Open an Account. You will be directed to open an Edvest account online. You may also request to receive an account application via U.S. Mail.

After your Edvest account is open, please select the Redeem Your Gift Card button at www.Edvest.com/redeem. You will be directed to GiftofCollege.com to register your Edvest account and deposit the gift card amount. You will be prompted to type the card number in as a part of the order and may also require the use of a PIN or other code shown on the gift card.

Q:
How do I redeem an Edvest “GiftofCollege.com” gift card if I am already an Edvest account owner?

Please visit www.Edvest.com/redeem and select the button Redeem Your Gift Card. You will be directed to GiftofCollege.com to register your Edvest account and deposit the gift card amount. You will be prompted to type the card number in as a part of the order and may also require the use of a PIN or other code shown on the gift card.

Q:
Who is GiftofCollege.com?

TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., program manager for the Edvest College Savings Plan has partnered with Giftofcollege.com on a gift card platform. They are a national provider of 529 plan gift technology and maintain a secure, online registry where you may register your Edvest accounts for future gifts and redeem your Edvest gift card. To learn more, please visit www.Edvest.com/redeem.

Q:
I won an Edvest gift card during a promotion/sweepstakes and it expired before I could use it. What can I do?

Promotional cards used in Edvest College Savings Plan promotions and sweepstakes must be used by deadline as indicated — sorry, no exceptions.

Other

Q:
What is the Tuition Units program?

This is a legacy college savings program in Wisconsin that is no longer open to new investment. If you wish to continue to build your college savings, please consider opening a new Edvest account. To inquire about your account please contact Edvest at 1-888-338-3789 M-F 7 am to 7 pm.

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.

Q:
How can I order Edvest materials for employees or clients?

Please use this email form to place a bulk order.

Q:
Can I invite Edvest to my company’s benefits fair or other employer event?

Benefits Managers may use this email form to place a request for an Edvest visit or speaker. Please include date/time of event, expected attendence, your location, and any other information you consider pertinent to the request.

Q:
Can I invite Edvest to my community event?

Event organizers may use this email form to place a request for Edvest participation. Please include date/time of event, expected attendance, event location, and any other information you consider pertinent to the request.

Q:

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