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Recent Federal News
New FAFSA timing rules may affect 529 plans
(September 16, 2015) - The U.S. Department of Education has announced new income reporting rules for the FAFSA, beginning with the 2017/18 school year. Instead of using prior year income as "base year" income, the FAFSA will use prior-prior year income. For example, the FAFSA will report 2015 calendar year income for the 2017/18 EFC determination instead of 2016 calendar year income.
The new rules offers grandparents greater flexibility in tapping their 529 accounts for grandchildren. Instead of waiting until the year the grandchild begins their final year of college, they need only wait until the junior year of college which typically includes the second semester of sophomore year. By waiting until then the 529 plan will have no impact on federal aid under either asset-inclusion or income-inclusion.
The 2016/17 FAFSA rules will remain the same as current treatment.
H.R. 529 passes in House vote
(February 25, 2015) - The House passed bill H.R. 529 today in a vote 401 - 20. This bill would expand the qualified expenses for 529 plans to include computer equipment, software, or internet access expenses used for college, and would allow the re-depositing of funds to a 529 plan without penalty if the student withdraws from college.
House Committee approves HR 529
(February 12, 2015) - The House Ways and Means committee has approved HR 529 to go before the full House for a vote. HR 529 would include computer expenses as qualified higher education expenses: remove certain tax accounting requirements involving aggregation of accounts; and permit the recontribution of school refunds within 60 days into a 529 plan without incurring tax. The recontribution provision was expanded in committee mark-up to include any refunds of qualified higher education expenses, and not just those following complete withdrawal from school.