How to Take Distributions From Your 529 College Savings Plan
When you're ready to start paying for college, Fidelity makes it easy to send tuition or other qualified higher education payments directly from your 529 college savings plan to your beneficiary or your beneficiary's school using Fidelity BillPay®.
How can I pay for college using my 529 account?
The most efficient way to take distributions is to set up BillPay. After you enroll, you have the flexibility to make single or recurring distribution payments for varying amounts, dates, and payees. If you prefer, you can request a check to be sent directly to yourself, your beneficiary, or third party without BillPay but additional forms may be required.
What do I need to know?
To get started with BillPay, go to Accounts & Trade and select BillPay, and then find your 529 plan (it begins with TOD), and choose Add Payee. You'll need this information:
- The payee's name (beneficiary, school, or yourself), address, and phone number.
- The payment amount and the date you want to withdraw the funds (you can leave these fields blank until you're ready to make your payment).
Note: If you're sending the distribution to the school, you'll also need the specific area or department and the student ID or student account number from the school's invoice.
- If you need additional help with BillPay, please review How to Set Up and Use BillPay on Your Account.
If you choose not to use BillPay:
- You can request to have a check sent directly to your beneficiary or yourself by calling us at 800-544-1914.
- If you want to establish ongoing payment instructions, you can complete the Standing Payment Instructions – 529 College Savings Plan form (PDF). If you use this form, you need to call us each time you want to make a payment by electronic funds transfer (EFT) or check.
- If you want to take a one-time distribution (either full or partial) from a specific portfolio, and prefer to make the request by mail you can send us the Withdrawals - 529 College Savings Plan form (PDF).
What to expect
If you're using BillPay:
- Once your college payment instructions are set up, you'll receive an email confirmation and you can start using BillPay right away. If you don't use eDelivery, we'll send your confirmation by U.S. Mail within 3–5 business days.
- After the instructions are set up, you can initiate the payment whenever you like or set up recurring payments.
- You can add, change, or stop payments at any time.
If you're using the Standing Payment Instructions – 529 College Savings Plan form:
- Once your college payment instructions are set up, you'll receive an email confirmation. If you don't use eDelivery, we'll send your confirmation by U.S. Mail within 3–5 business days.
- After your instructions are set up, you can call us to request a distribution at 800-544-1914.
If you're using the 529 withdrawals form:
- After we receive the form, you'll receive an email confirmation. If you don't use eDelivery, we'll send your confirmation by U.S. Mail within 3–5 business days.
- The distribution will be deducted from the specific portfolio you selected, by the method you choose, and for the dollar amount you requested.
If you send the payments either directly to the beneficiary or an eligible institution, the tax form (Form 1099-Q) is sent to the beneficiary. If the distribution is sent to you or another payee, you will receive the Form 1099-Q.
Note: If you're requesting a full distribution, please call us at 800-544-1914. We need to process this transaction for you due to fluctuations in the stock market.