College gifting

It's easy for family and friends to give a gift to your 529 college savings account.

Gifts make a difference

Your savings could get a boost when friends and family give gifts to your 529 account. With more money in the account to invest and earn returns, your savings have the potential to grow faster to help you reach your goals. Consider this hypothetical illustration showing the power of gifting over time.


college-gifting_compound-interest-chart


How did we come up with these numbers? It starts with yearly contributions of $5,000 combined with annual gifts of $1,000.

This hypothetical example assumes the following:
Scenario 1: (1) monthly contributions to a 529 account from the account owner of $416.66 only, made on the first of each month beginning when the child is born and continuing through age 18. (2) monthly contributions from the account owner of $416.66, and monthly gifted amount of $83.33 to a 529 account made on the first of each month beginning when the child is born and continuing through age 18, (3) annual rate of return of 7.5%, compounded monthly, and (4) no taxes on any potential earnings within the 529 College Savings Plan account.

Scenario 2: (1) monthly contributions to a 529 account from the account owner of $416.66 only, made on the first of each month beginning when the child is age 5 and continuing through age 18. (2) monthly contributions from the account owner of $416.66, and monthly gifted amount of $83.33 to a 529 account made on the first of each month beginning when the child is age 5 and continuing through age 18, (3) annual rate of return of 5.3%, compounded monthly, and (4) no taxes on any potential earnings within the 529 College Savings Plan account.

Scenario 3: (1) monthly contributions to a 529 account from the account owner of $416.66 only, made on the first of each month beginning when the child is age 10 and continuing through age 18. (2) monthly contributions from the account owner of $416.66, and monthly gifted amount of $83.33 to a 529 account made on the first of each month beginning when the child is age 10 and continuing through age 18, (3) annual rate of return of 3.3%, compounded monthly, and (4) no taxes on any potential earnings within the 529 College Savings Plan account.

Differences in the assumed rate of return across the 3 scenarios are due to the fact that target date fund investments tend to become more conservative and focused on capital preservation as opposed to growth the closer the account beneficiary approaches college age and needs these savings to cover qualified education expenses. Another factor to consider is the short horizon for investing when starting to save for the child at age 5 or 10 versus starting when they're born. If your 529 is used to pay for qualified education expenses, no federal income taxes are owed on the distributions, including any potential earnings. Non-qualified distributions from a 529 College Savings Plan, however, incur federal income taxes plus a 10% federal penalty, and may be subject to state income taxes. Systematic investing does not ensure a profit and does not protect against loss in a declining market. This example is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any security. The assumed rates of return used in this example are not guaranteed.

Local and state taxes, inflation, fees, and/or expenses were not taken into account. If they had been deducted, performance would have been lower. The hypothetical example is not intended to predict or project the investment performance of any security. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Your performance will vary and you may have a gain or a loss when you sell your units.

Next steps

How to ask for gifts to a 529 account

People sometimes feel awkward asking for gifts to a 529 account even though it could provide a lasting and meaningful benefit. Consider these tips from Fidelity customers. They found easy ways to ask friends and family to think of college on gift-giving occasions.

Ready to get started?

Have more questions?

Your gifting page

Your family and friends can visit your gifting page to give to your 529 account. You can personalize it with a picture, greeting, and information you want to share about your beneficiary.

It's easy for family and friends to give a gift online using an electronic check, with no fees.

Visitors to the page will not have access to any account information, other than the beneficiary's first name, so your account privacy is protected. See a sample gifting page


Here's how it works

Find the link to your college gfting page

When you sign up for college gifting, you'll get a private dashboard that only you can see. Your dashboard shows your options for sharing a link to your personalized college gifting page.

Share the link to your college gifting page

From your dashboard you can use the buttons to share a link to your college gifting page on Facebook and Twitter. Or you can use the "Copy link" button to share the link anywhere you'd like—emails, other social media sites, electronic birthday invitations. 

Make it easy for friends and family to give gifts

Anyone with the link to your college gifting page can visit your page. By clicking the "Give a gift" button, they can easily make a gift to the account using their checking account.

6 gift-requesting tips

Help your friends and family understand how impactful their gifted contributions can be.

  • Tell everyone—early and often

    People love to celebrate new additions to the family from the very start. So open your child's 529 account as early as possible. Let everyone know that gift contributions to the account would be appreciated as much (or maybe more) than other types of gifts.

  • No gift is too small

    Small amounts can make a big difference. Thanks to compounding returns, an amount that seems insignificant today has the potential to grow when you keep saving and investing over time. Let everyone know that any amount is great and is very much appreciated.

  • Don't ask for a specific amount

    Let the person giving the gift choose the amount they are comfortable giving. Make sure they feel good about the experience and valued.

  • Let your child's grades do the talking

    Share report cards along with a link to your child's gifting page. Friends and family may want to celebrate and reward hard work and learning.

  • Consider sharing on social media

    Post a link to your child's gifting homepage on social media. You may be surprised by the friends and family who would like the opportunity to help.

  • Take advantage of gift-giving occasions

    Birthdays, graduations, and holidays are all opportunities to ask for a gift to your child's college savings. Help potential gift-givers understand that toys come and go but a gift to your child's 529 could provide a lasting and meaningful benefit. (That can be especially true for younger children.)

Your private gifting dashboard

From your gifting dashboard, you can edit your gift page, track the gifts you've received, and invite family and friends via Facebook, Twitter, or by sharing the link to the gift page.


As the account owner, only you can access your dashboard, so your account information is kept private. See a sample gifting dashboard

Next steps

Ready to get started?


Consider these tips from Fidelity customers who found easy ways to ask friends and family to think of college on gift-giving occasions.

Have more questions?

Get in touch