529 plans and foreign schools

College graduates sit and read programs during the 2012 Syracuse University Commencement.

A listener sent in a video question in response to my interview with Jeremy Hobson on today's Marketplce Morning Report on college savings plans, otherwise known as 529 plans.

 

Essentially, the listener wants to know if you can use a 529 plan to fund tuition at a foreign university.

The answer is, yes you can -- depending on the institution. To qualify, the school needs to be eligible to participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Most degree-granting four-year schools, junior and community colleges, and graduate schools will qualify, as will many proprietary and vocational schools.

Check to see if you can use your 529 money at the institution you're interested in by doing a Federal School Code Lookup at Savingforcollege.com. I searched to see if I could use 529 money to send a child to my alma mater. I typed "warwick" into the SCHOOL field, and picked FC for "foreign country" in the drop down box in the STATE field, and voila... I could indeed use money from a California 529 savings plan to send a lucky nice of nephew to the University of Warwick.

About the author

Paddy Hirsch is a Senior Editor at Marketplace and the creator and host of the Marketplace Whiteboard. Follow Paddy on Twitter @paddyhirsch and on facebook at www.facebook.com/paddyhirsch101
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