How to make withdrawals

Time to pay that tuition bill? Here's what you should know about making withdrawals from your Direct Plan account.

Online

  1. Log on to your account.
  2. From My Accounts, choose the appropriate account to act on.
  3. On the "Overview" page, under Investments, select Make a Withdrawal.
  4. Select one of the following:

    • Yes. This is a qualified withdrawal for higher education expenses.; or

    • No. This is a nonqualified withdrawal that will not be used for education expenses.

    • Yes. This is a withdrawal to pay expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.; or

    • Yes. This is a withdrawal to pay for fees, books, supplies and/or equipment required for participation in an apprenticeship program registered and certified with the Secretary of Labor.; or

    • Yes. This is a withdrawal to pay for principal or interest on a qualified education loan of the beneficiary or a sibling of the beneficiary.; or

  5. If you're withdrawing funds to pay for registered apprenticeship expenses or to make qualified education loan repayments, please note that for NY State tax purposes, this would require the recapture of any NY State tax benefits that have accrued on contributions.

  6. Submit your request.


 

Note: Remember to enter the beneficiary's student ID number in the Memo section if your withdrawal is going directly to the college or other post-secondary school. Please note, however that withdrawals for K-12 tuition cannot be sent directly to the beneficiary or the educational institution. We will only send withdrawals for K-12 tuition to the account owner.*
 

By U.S. mail

  1. Download and print our Withdrawal Request Form.
  2. Complete all sections of the form and sign where indicated.

    Note: If the withdrawal is going to the college or other post-secondary school, enter the beneficiary's student ID in Section 3 of the form, and write it in the Memo section of your check.

  3. Mail your completed form to:

    New York's 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan
    P.O. Box 55440
    Boston, MA 02205-8323

By phone

If the withdrawal is going to the college or other post-secondary school, you'll need to provide your account, beneficiary, and school information, as well as the beneficiary's student ID number.

Call 877-NYSAVES (877-697-2837).

Important information

Please allow ten business days (plus mailing time, if applicable) for the funds to arrive.

You should also allow extra time for processing during periods of heavy volume, as crediting money to the student's school account may be delayed.

If you intend to add or change bank information, please factor in a 15-calendar-day verification period, during which assets can't be sent to the bank.

More about withdrawals

What can I use the money for?

There are generally two types of withdrawals: qualified or nonqualified.

Qualified Withdrawals. A qualified withdrawal is used to pay:

  • qualified higher education expenses at an eligible educational institution such as
    • tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for enrollment or attendance,
    • certain room and board expenses during academic periods in which the beneficiary is enrolled at least half-time,
    • certain expenses for students with special needs,
    • expenses for the purchase of computer or certain peripheral equipment under the control of the computer (e.g., printers); internet access and related services; and certain computer software if the equipment, software, or services are to be used primarily by the beneficiary while enrolled,
  • expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school (K-12 tuition), of up to $10,000 per year per beneficiary*,
  • expenses for fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for the participation of a beneficiary in an apprenticeship program registered and certified with the Secretary of Labor (apprenticeship expenses)*, or
  • principal or interest on federally qualified education loans of the beneficiary or a sibling of the beneficiary up to a $10,000 lifetime limit per individual (qualified education loan repayments)*.

Nonqualified Withdrawals. A nonqualified withdrawal is anything other than a:

  • Qualified withdrawal,
  • Withdrawal because of the death or disability of the beneficiary,
  • Withdrawal because of the receipt of a qualified scholarship by the beneficiary (as long as the amount withdrawn does not exceed the amount of the scholarship),
  • Rollover into a 529 plan not offered by the State of New York in accordance with Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, or
  • Transfer of assets to another beneficiary in a 529 plan offered by the State of New York (as long as the new beneficiary is a member of the family of the original beneficiary).

Rollovers to ABLE Plans. Account owners can also roll over 529 plan assets into ABLE plan accounts, subject to the annual ABLE plan contribution limit, until December 31, 2025 according to federal law. Rollovers of 529 plan assets into ABLE plan accounts will not be considered taxable events for purposes of federal or New York State taxes. For more details about the Direct Plan's tax benefits, refer to the Disclosure Booklet and Tuition Savings Agreement. 

*Please note that distributions to pay K-12 tuition, apprenticeship expenses, or to make qualified education loan repayments are considered nonqualified withdrawals for NY State tax purposes and will require the recapture of any tax benefits that have accrued on contributions. State tax benefits for non-resident New York taxpayers may vary. Account owners are encouraged to consult a qualified tax advisor about their personal situation.

Do I pay taxes on my withdrawals?

Federal taxes. You don't have to pay federal income taxes on distributions from your account if the funds are used for qualified expenses.

Earnings on nonqualified withdrawals are treated as income and subject to federal and state income taxes, including, in most cases, an additional 10% federal penalty. Nonqualified withdrawals may also be subject to state and local taxes.

Withdrawals on account of the death or disability of a beneficiary or because of the receipt of a scholarship are subject to ordinary income tax, but not the federal 10% tax penalty.

New York State taxes. You don’t have to pay New York State income taxes on distributions from your account if the funds are used to pay qualified higher education expenses at eligible educational institutions. Withdrawals due to the death or disability of a beneficiary are not includable in computing taxable income; however, withdrawals due to a qualifed scholarship are includable in this calculation for the year in which the withdrawal is made.

Distributions to pay K-12 tuition, apprenticeship expenses, or qualified education loan repayments are considered nonqualified withdrawals for New York State tax purposes and will require the recapture of any tax benefits that have accrued on contributions.

How much should I withdraw for qualified expenses?

When calculating how much you need, make sure you subtract any scholarship or grant money from the amount you're planning to withdraw.

Also, consider whether you're planning to claim any federal tax credits, like the American Opportunity Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit. If you claim a credit, it will reduce the amount of your expenses that are considered qualified.

Note: Any excess amount you withdraw is considered a nonqualified withdrawal.

Who can receive the withdrawal?

All qualified higher education withdrawals can be sent by check to the account owner, the beneficiary, or the eligible educational institution. If bank instructions are set up on your account, the withdrawals can be sent electronically.

Withdrawals for K-12 tuition cannot be sent directly to the beneficiary or the educational institution.  We will only send withdrawals for K-12 tuition to the account owner.

All other withdrawals can be sent to the account owner or the beneficiary.

How are withdrawals reported to the IRS?

You or the student will receive IRS Form 1099-Q in late January or early February, if you made a withdrawal the previous year. (If you received the money, then you get the form. If the student or school received the money, the student will get the form.)

This form will show gross distributions, earnings, and principal. If any of the earnings are considered taxable, they should be reported on Form 1040 as part of a federal income tax return. Be sure to keep records of all qualified expenses.

Learn more about withdrawals in FAQs: Managing your account