Governor Signs Bill to Update College Savings Plan
Mike Seals - May 17, 2021 11:33 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that updates allowable uses for qualified higher education expenses under the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan was signed into law by the governor.
House Bill 1962, authored by Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs, aligns the state’s language with the federal government’s definition. The bill unanimously passed the House and Senate.
“Oklahoma’s college savings plan has helped many students attend college and enjoy all the benefits provided by higher learning,” Nollan said. “This bill simply ensures those same students will have the same opportunities as students in other states when it comes to how they are allowed to use this money.”
Sen. Marty Quinn, R-Claremore, authored the legislation in the Senate.
“I’m happy to see House Bill 1962 signed into law,” Quinn said. “It’s important that our state College Savings Plan mirrors the federal plan so students can access their funds to pay for all types of college expenses, including tuition, fees, books and other supplies.”
Nollan said the bill was requested by State Treasurer Randy McDaniel, a former House member. She explained that the federal government expanded the definition of allowable uses under Section 529 of the Federal Tax Code over the past few years. With the passage of this bill, Oklahoma’s definition of qualified higher education expenses will align with the federal definition. Funds currently can be used for tuition, supplies, and room and board at accredited colleges, universities, career technology centers, and business schools.
McDaniel explained that the federal government has made important adjustments regarding the allowable uses for college saving plans. He said his efforts in working with Nollan were to keep the state current with those changes. Among the newest provisions, he highlighted the fact that 529 funds now can be used for apprenticeships and for student loan debt up to $10,000.
“The recommended changes help ensure the lasting success of a program focused on increasing the number of college graduates, while reducing burdensome student debt,” McDaniel said. “I encourage families to invest in their children’s future education and prosperity by contributing to the Oklahoma College Savings Plan.”
Oklahoma’s 529 College Savings Plan just celebrated its 20-year anniversary and both Nollan and McDaniel are excited about its future. The plan, which was started from scratch, now boasts over $1 billion in assets. The initial contribution amount recently was reduced to just $25, making it even easier for parents or guardians to save for their child’s college education.