Financial Aid Impact of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts

Bill Sjostrom —  7 April 2006

With April 15 looming, I’ve spent some time this morning figuring out whether to make contributions to my sons’ Coverdell Education Savings Accounts or their 529 plans (I’m no longer a big shot attorney, so I don’t have the funds to do both). The issue has come up because on a recent NPR show someone claimed that 529 plans are more favorable from a financial aid standpoint because the assets are considered those of the parent while the assets in an ESA are considered those of the student. This was news to me. My web research revealed conflicting information and advice on the point. But I think I located the definitive answer in this U.S. Department of Education letter. The letter states as follows:

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and 529 College Savings Plans receive equal treatment in the calculation of federal financial aid eligibility. Specifically, both can be regarded as assets of the parent if the parent is the owner of the account, rather than the student, and thereby displace a smaller amount of financial aid.

Hence, I’ll be contributing to their ESAs. If you’d like to contribute to their 529 plans, let me know, and I’ll give you my PayPal information.

One response to Financial Aid Impact of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts

  1. 
    Securities Lawyer 7 April 2006 at 1:06 pm

    I chose the Coverdell for my children as well. Ohio’s (along with most other state’s) 529 plan has very limited investment options. At least the Coverdell lets you invest in individual stocks, along with other investment options.