College Savings Planning

Questions to ask when selecting a Section 529 Plan

When comparing 529 plans, consider these questions to determine if a particular plan has the flexibility to meet your needs.

  • Are there state tax benefits for residents or negative tax consequences for non-residents?
  • What are the minimum and maximum allowable contribution amounts?
  • Are there any restrictions on who may be a beneficiary or what beneficiary changes can be made?
  • What kind of account access is available (customer service representatives available by phone, online enrollment, internet access, etc.)?
  • What is the process for taking withdrawals? Is paper documentation needed? Can checks be sent directly from the plan account to the school?
  • What investment options are available? What are the underlying funds? What are the fees? How much investment flexibility is available?


Top 10 Student Loan Tips

While these tips are intended for those who have already graduated from college, they are helpful points to keep in mind when considering student loans. For detailed information about each of the tips, see the source information below.

  • Know your loans
  • Know your grace period
  • Stay in touch with your lender
  • Pick the right repayment option
  • Don’t panic
  • Stay out of trouble
  • Lower your principal if you can
  • Pay off the most expensive loans first
  • Should loans be consolidated?
  • Loan forgiveness

Source: “Top 10 Student Loan Tips for Recent Graduates,” The Project on Student Debt, an Initiative of the Institute for College Access & Success.


Web Resources


  • The College Board, paying for college.
  • com has numerous articles about savings plans, tutorials, etc.

Section 529 Plans

  • College Savings 101, “Understanding 529 Plans”,
  • “Common 529 Questions,” College Savings Plan Network,
  • “An Introduction for 529 Plans,” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,

Coverdell ESAs

  • “Introduction to ESAs,”

Student Loans

  • “Choosing a loan that’s right for you,” U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,
  • “Consolidating your federal education loans,” U.S. Department of Education,


Essential Reading

  • Internal Revenue Service Publication 970, “Tax Benefits for Education,” covers Coverdell ESAs, U.S. Savings Bonds, American Opportunity Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, and student loan interest and other deductions.
  • “Family Guide to College Saving,” by Joseph Hurley. Order at
  • “Funding Education Beyond High School: The “Guide to Federal Student Aid.” Available at or (800) 433-3243.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Worksite Financial Solutions is a program exclusive to LPL Financial and its advisor partners. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.

Research & Analysis