Families outside the U.S. can find the answers to our biggest FAQs here.
Participating member schools
Which colleges and universities participate in the Plan?
Nearly 300 private colleges and universities currently participate in the Plan and are part of our network. The diverse range of colleges spans engineering schools, traditional liberal arts colleges, historically black colleges, religiously affiliated schools, research universities, women’s colleges and more.
See the full list of participating schools >>
Do I need to know where my child is going to college when I open an account?
No. You don’t need to know where they’re going when you open an account. Your prepaid tuition can be used at any current or future participating school, as long as the student is accepted and enrolled.
Since tuition is different at every college, what do my contributions buy?
Every dollar you contribute, after fees, purchases Tuition Certificates that can be redeemed to pay for future tuition and mandatory fees at any of our current or future participating schools.
The amount of tuition you purchase is based on the current rate of tuition at each participating school. The percentage of a year you purchase will vary by school, based on the tuition rates for the academic year in which your certificates are purchased.
For example, if Nancy contributes $10,000 to her account for 8-year-old Ben, that equals a third of a year of tuition at College A where current annual tuition is $30,000, and a quarter of a year at College B where current annual tuition is $40,000.
No matter how much tuition increases at Colleges A and B, Nancy will always own these percentages of tuition (33.33% at College A and 25% at College B).
Can I track my savings progress?
Absolutely! Your account statements report how much prepaid tuition you own to date for each of the sample schools you chose during enrollment.
Will more schools be added to the Plan?
Yes. We are always looking to grow our network of nearly 300 participating schools so you have more options.
Can I use my Tuition Certificates at a school that joins the Plan after my purchase?
Yes. Schools that sign up to participate are required to honor Tuition Certificates that were purchased before the school signed on based on the tuition rate charged by that school for the academic year during which the Tuition Certificate was purchased. Participating schools guarantee Tuition Certificates for 30 years from the time of purchase, regardless of whether the school was a participating college at the time the Tuition Certificate was purchased.
Can participating colleges stop participating in the Plan?
Schools can choose to withdraw from participating in the Private College 529 Plan on a prospective basis only. Withdrawing schools are obligated to honor Tuition Certificates purchased any time before the school’s withdrawal.
How do I know that a participating college will honor my Tuition Certificates?
Our participating schools are legally required to accept Tuition Certificates for up to 30 years from the date of purchase.
How can I be sure my child is accepted and goes to one of these schools?
Our Plan doesn’t guarantee acceptance or admission to any college or university, in network or otherwise. Nor does it impact the admissions process.
What happens if my child (the Trust beneficiary) gets a scholarship?
If the Trust beneficiary receives a partial scholarship, you can still use the Tuition Certificates to cover the remaining tuition costs.
If the Trust beneficiary receives a full scholarship, you may request a refund*.
What happens if there’s money remaining in my account (not used by the beneficiary)?
You can request a full refund* of the remaining funds.
What if my children don’t end up going to participating schools?
If your children end up going to nonparticipating schools or not going to school at all, you may request refund*.
Who can open a Private College 529 Plan account?
Qualifying international persons can enjoy the benefits of the Plan by opening a US Trust through US College Finance with their child as the Trust beneficiary. The Trust will purchase Tuition Certificates for the benefit of the child.
What is a Tuition Certificate?
Tuition Certificates represent the amount of prepaid tuition at any of our participating schools. All contributions made to your account during a Plan Year (July1 through June 30) are aggregated into a single Tuition Certificate. If contributions to your account are made over multiple Plan Years, your US Trust will own multiple Tuition Certificates.
What can my Tuition Certificates pay for?
Tuition Certificates can be used to pay for undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees. Mandatory fees are set by colleges and universities, and in general, are required as a condition of enrollment. Neither tuition nor mandatory fees include or cover the cost of books, supplies or room and board.
How much can I contribute to a Private College 529 Plan account?
Our maximum contribution limits change annually. The maximum contribution amount is equal to the cost of five years of full-time tuition at the most expensive participating college, which is currently $332,450 for the PC529 2022-2023 Plan Year. The maximum balance may be recalculated or adjusted each year based on the specific Plan Year’s most expensive participating institution.
If I want to save for multiple children, do I need an account for each child?
Yes, you would need a separate U.S. Trust account for each child. By US law, each 529 account can only be for one child (beneficiary).
How quickly can a Tuition Certificate be redeemed?
Tuition Certificates need to be held for 36 months from the issue date before they can be redeemed to pay for tuition at a participating school. The issue date is the first date during a Plan Year that a purchase of a Tuition Certificate is made.
How do I know how much tuition I own at participating schools?
Your account statement reports how much tuition you have prepaid and own at the sample schools you designate.
What happens if an account owner or beneficiary passes away before a certificate is redeemed?
When opening an account, you must designate a beneficiary and may appoint a successor owner. Subject to qualification under applicable law, a successor account owner assumes ownership of the account with all the rights of the original account owner in the unfortunate event that the original account owner passes away.
In the event of a beneficiary’s death, the account owner may request a refund*.
*You may request a full or partial refund of your account. Tuition Certificates must be held for 36 months before they are eligible to be refunded. The refunded value will be based on the amount contributed, adjusted for the net performance of the Program Trust, subject to a maximum increase of 2% per year, and a maximum loss of 2% per year, compounded annually, less a 3% withdrawal fee. The refund amount will be paid from the Program Trust only. As with any 529 plan, if you do not use the money for qualified higher education expenses as defined under U.S. tax law, any increase in the value of your initial purchase amounts (the difference between your contribution amount and the amount refunded) will be subject to U.S. federal income tax withholding as well as an additional 10% U.S. tax penalty.