No you don't have to use your own state's 529 plan.Very few states will prevent you from using their 529 plans no matter where you live, which means you can shop among just about all the different plans. And it's important to realize that your choice of 529 plan has no impact on where your child attends college, either in-state or out-of-state. Of course, your state does not want you to go elsewhere with your college savings. That’s why so many of the states sweeten the deal by giving something extra to residents. It could be a state income tax deduction for your contributions to the home-state plan, or matching contributions for residents below certain income thresholds, or a waiver of certain fees. But you might still decide to use an out-of-state 529 plan either because you decide there is little or no special benefit for staying in-state or because you find an out-of-state 529 plan with better investment options or lower fees and expenses. Be sure to try the 529 plan comparison tool on savingforcollege.com to see what your state has to offer with its 529 plan and how it compares to other states' 529 plans.