529 Savings Plans

A college savings plan, also known as a 529 plan, is a way for parents and students to pay for education expenses.

Requesting a Payment

Plan participants must first initiate the payment process through their plan administrator. Because enrollment verification is required in most cases, plans that require this information will need a copy of the student’s billing statement after the add/drop period, usually 10 days after the start of the semester.

Withdrawals from a 529 plan can be deposited into the account owner's bank or a beneficiary's bank, or you can direct the money to the school, which may require a payment by mail. Keep in mind that mailed payments take longer to process and could result in late fees if full payment is not received by the deadline. Be aware of the Billing Schedule.

Checks and Money Orders

If the savings plan payment is sent by mail, you must include the top portion of the printed statement stub with the check or money order. If the statement stub is not available, the student’s name and Columbia University PID, the nine-digit identification number, must be written on the check or money order. Failure to provide this identifying information may result in delays in the processing of your payment.

In order to avoid late payment charges, payments by mail must be received, not simply postmarked, by the due date, and sent to the following address:

Columbia University
Student Account Payments
P.O. Box 1385
New York, NY 10008-1385

The processing center cannot accept any mail that requires signature of receipt.

Requirements Vary By State

The specific requirements for establishing, enrolling in, or withdrawing from a 529 plan will vary by state. Check with your state or visit Saving For College for links to information about 529 plans offered in your state.

New York State Residents

If you are a New York State resident, learn more about the NY 529 College Savings Program.