How to withdraw money from your 529 account
You can easily transfer money online from a 529 account to cover qualified expenses.
What do I need to know?
To take a 529 withdrawal for qualified expenses:
- Visit Accounts & Trade, then select Transfer and your 529 plan
- You can choose where to transfer your money, such as to another Fidelity account or a bank account on file
- You can withdraw a portion of the funds or the full amount
- Examples of qualified expenses for college include tuition, room and board, books, and computer equipment; refer to your enrollment kit for all of the qualified expenses covered by your state's plan
- Up to $10,000 annually can be used for tuition expenses for elementary, middle, and high school (public, private, or religious). Although the money may come from multiple 529 accounts, it will be aggregated on a per beneficiary basis, and any distribution amount in excess of $10,000 will be subject to income and a 10% federal penalty tax.
- You can withdraw money for non-qualified expenses, but it will be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax; there may also be state or local income tax, as well as interest or dividends tax
To make cash available for your 529 withdrawal:
- When you make a 529 withdrawal, a free trade will automatically be placed and the funds will be evenly withdrawn from all of your portfolios
- If you want to select what portfolio in your account will fund the withdrawal, please use the Withdrawals—529 College Savings Plan form (PDF)
What to expect
To check the status of your trade:
- On your Activity & Orders tab, view Pending Transfers before the sale is completed and History after the sale is completed
To access your funds:
- It can take up to 3 business days for the trade to settle and your funds to be available
- If your bank is linked online, you can use the funds right away
- If you're unable to add a bank online, you'll default to the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Authorization form; once that's processed, it could take up to a week for your funds to be available
Frequently asked questions
If the money doesn't go to the beneficiary directly, will there be tax implications?
The IRS expects that your withdrawal will be used for qualified expenses like tuition, room and board, or books. You should keep a record of your qualified expenses.
What if I want to send the money directly from Fidelity to another party (the school, the beneficiary, the parents of the beneficiary)?
You can do this, but the quickest option will be to transfer funds online to yourself. You can then send those funds from your bank or Fidelity account to the third party. Payments made to recipients other than the account beneficiary, school, or tuition payment service will be reported as such on Form 1099-Q for tax reporting purposes.
To send the money directly to a third party, you can set up BillPay, but this method can take up to 14 days. If you've planned ahead or have already set up BillPay, you can use it to make a direct payment to a third party. To learn more about BillPay, visit How to Set Up and Use BillPay on Your Account. Fidelity BillPay is not available to pay tuition expenses at primary or secondary public, private, or religious educational institutions. For information on other distribution methods, visit Take a Distribution From Your 529 Account.
Can I initiate a direct debit with the school from my 529 account?
No, 529 accounts are not eligible for direct debit.