You may be surprised by how many of your friends and family members will want to make a direct contribution to your child's education to help pay for college. Birthdays, holidays, graduations, and other celebrated milestones can be a great way for friends and relatives to make gift contributions to help start and build a 529 college fund for your child.
Today, there are many different websites that make it easy for just about anyone to make a donation on behalf of a child, giving them a head start that they'll appreciate even more as the years go by.
Contributing to your child's 529 savings plan
In some states, there are rules establishing minimal initial contributions for 529 saving plans. However, there are websites that will allow friends and relatives to make a gift into a savings account that you can transfer over to the 529 saving plan when a sufficient contribution exists.
UGift.com is an online registry where you set up your child's individual profile and 529 college fund information, and contributions from family and friends are sent directly to the child's 529 college plan. UGift Users can register for free and share the unique code they receive with friends and family, allowing them to contribute to your child's 529 plan.
GiftofCollege.com is a social savings platform that creates a type of online community where you can share your child's hopes and aspirations, career plans, and college choices, as well as post their successes, milestones, and accomplishments. 529 contributions can be made online by credit card.
NOTE: As of 2018, the IRS has amended the term “qualified higher education expense” to include a limited amount of annual expenses from a 529 Plan for tuition at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school. Source: www.irs.gov/newsroom/529-plans-questions-and-answers.