Did you know that a new PC purchase Qualifies for reimbursement through a College 529 Savings Plan?  

That’s right, back in February of this year as a part of the Stimulus package, congress changed the what was eligible for reimbursement under the College 529 Savings plan.  The goal is to make it more affordable for parents and students to purchase a new PC.  Previously, the purchase of a new PC was only permissible if the PC was a requirement for the degree the student was pursuing. 

Here is a quick recap about what congress changed this year to help families equip their students with the best tools to pursue their studies.  “Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009, the list of Section 529 qualified higher education expenses is expanded to include expenses paid or incurred in 2009 or 2010 for the purchase of any computer technology, equipment, or Internet access and related services to be used by the beneficiary and the beneficiary's family during any of the years the beneficiary is enrolled at an eligible educational institution. Until enactment of this legislation, 529 accounts could be used to pay for computers only if they were required by the college or by a specific degree program or course.”   

For more information, access the College Savings Plan Network web site media room for at: http://www.collegesavings.org/ or you may review the press release through this link:   CSPN Press Release 529 plans in stimulus package 2.12.09

Quick hits:

Ø  Who can take advantage of this?

The beneficiary (student) may use Section 529 College Savings Plan funds for the purchase of computer technology, equipment, or Internet access and related services to be used by the beneficiary and the beneficiary's family during any of the years the beneficiary is enrolled at an eligible educational institution. 

Ø  529 Basics

§  A Section 529 College Savings Plan is a tax-advantaged investment plan designed to encourage saving for the future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary (typically one's child or grandchild)

§  Withdrawals from a 529 plan for qualified education expenses remain free from federal income tax. Many states mirror the federal tax advantages a 529 plan by offering state tax-deferred growth and tax-free withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses.

Ø  Effective: expenses paid or incurred in 2009 or 2010

Ø  Not eligible: expenses for computer software designed for sports, games, or hobbies unless the software is predominantly educational in nature.

Ø  Where can Section 529 college savings plan withdrawals be used?  Withdrawals from 529 savings plans can be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses at any college, university, vocational school, or other accredited postsecondary educational institution eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the Department of Education. This includes virtually all accredited public, nonprofit, and privately owned profit-making postsecondary institutions.

Ø  Requesting a withdrawal – procedure varies by plan:  To withdraw money (take a distribution), the participant typically phones or makes a request via on-line form. Funds can be to sent to the participant, the beneficiary, or to the beneficiary’s college.*  It is recommended the participant retains records of payments for use in income tax returns.  Beneficiary = student.  Saver/Participant = the 529 account holder

I hope this helps as you evaluate the different options and what is right for your family. 

Intel also works with CNET three times a year to review the most common PC’s available at Best Buy.  These reviews are designed to make the buying process easier.  I know Dell always has some killer systems that appeal to most every budget.  Here are two examples:

Dell Inspiron laptop scored a 4.4 out of possible 5 in the latest round of the CNET reviews http://bit.ly/YzBbA

Another example with more horsepower is this Dell XPS http://bit.ly/19wax4  scoring a 4.3 out of 5 by CNET. 

CNET reference links:

·         CNET Laptop Reviews: http://bit.ly/cnetlap

·         CNET Desktop Reviews: http://bit.ly/cnetdesk