With an increasing need for technicians and skilled laborers, enrollment in trade and vocational schools is seeing record growth. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment increased from 9.6 million students in 1999 to 16 million in 2016. This upward trend is anticipated to continue, especially since technicians and skilled laborers were some of the least impacted positions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A 529 education savings account with The Education Plan® will cover many expenses associated with trade and vocational schools including tuition, computers, books, and supplies. Students can use a 529 plan to pay for vocational and trade school programs sponsored by schools that are eligible for Title IV federal student aid. This includes many cosmetology schools, technical colleges, culinary schools and even a golf academy. Students can search for eligible schools using the Federal School Code Lookup Tool.
“While costs may be lower at some vocational schools than at traditional four-year private universities, it’s still important to plan ahead and invest in the future for yourself or your children,” said Ted Miller, Executive Director of the Education Trust Board of New Mexico, the state agency that administers The Education Plan®. “Opening a 529 account is a great way to support the student in your life and to set them up for a successful future—whichever path they choose. Additionally, for people already in skilled trades who are looking to invest in further education or certifications, opening a 529 account can provide a flexible way to save for those programs.”
The Education Plan® can be used to cover tuition, housing, meal plans, books, supplies, computers and fees at any school nationwide—vocational or trade schools, professional schools, colleges and universities. Plans also offer tax benefits. Contributions are tax-deductible on some state income tax returns, and earnings grow free of state and federal taxes. Withdrawals are also tax-free when used to cover qualified education expenses. Savings plans can be opened with as little as $1 and contributions can be made whenever the account holder chooses.
“A 529 plan is for everyone, whether you’re saving for college or trade school, and regardless of how much you’re able to add at first,” added Miller. “Students who have money saved for higher education are more likely to attend and succeed, so we encourage everyone to invest in a brighter future for you and your loved ones.”