Congress passes bill that will change financial aid treatment of 529s
The major provisions of the bill would increase the maximum Pell Grant from $4,310 today to $5,400 by 2012, cut the interest rate on subsidized Stafford Loans in half from 6.8% to 3.4% over five years, and reduce government payments to banks and agencies making student loans.
Under the bill, dependent students with self-owned 529 accounts and Coverdell ESAs will no longer be able to exclude those assets in the determination of financial need, effective with the 2009/2010 school year. Instead they will be treated as parent assets, the same as parent-owned 529s and ESAs.
The bill also clarifies that tax-free distributions from a 529 plan, from a non-529 state prepaid tuition plan (i.e. Massachusetts U.Plan), or from a Coverdell ESA are not reportable as income or support on the federal financial aid application.