Who Can Contribute to a 529 Plan?

You can help any child save for college expenses by contributing to a 529 college savings plan. All 529 plans accept third-party contributions, regardless of who owns the account. That means anyone, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even friends, can help a child save for college.

The money you invest in a child’s 529 plan grows on a tax-deferred basis, and distributions are completely tax-free when used to pay for the child’s qualified education expenses. Because of this tax-free compounding, even a small gift can potentially grow substantially over time. Every dollar a student has in college savings is one dollar less that they will have to borrow in student loans.

Beginning in 2024, beneficiaries can rollover unused 529 funds to a Roth IRA. Several rules apply, so consult your tax professional.

Higher Education Costs

Below are average in-state tuition and fees full-time undergraduate students paid during the 2021-2022 school year.


  • Public universities: $10,740
  • Private nonprofit universities: $38,070


  • Public, in-district: $3,800

Source: https://research.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/trends-college-pricing-student-aid-2021.pdf