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NC National College Savings Program

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North Carolina's National College Savings Program provides residents of any state with a means of investing funds to pay qualified higher education expenses of designated beneficiaries on a flexible basis that results in certain tax savings according to federal and North Carolina tax laws. Participants choose how much to contribute and determine the investment direction of those funds.

"Qualified Higher Education Expenses" are those that can be paid with funds withdrawn from an account without payment of federal income tax on earnings, as outlined in section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. Examples of qualified expenses are tuition, fees, room and board, books and required supplies, and equipment, at just about any college, anywhere in the United States.

Who Is Eligible?

Permanent employees who work half-time (.50 full-time equivalency) or higher may contribute through payroll deduction. A beneficiary account can be opened by almost anyone: grandparents, parents, friends, relatives, etc. The account beneficiary can be of any age, from newborn to adult. An individual account can also be opened.

How Do I Enroll?

Enrollment into North Carolina's College Savings Program is easy and can be done through one of three ways.

Provided the enrollment form is submitted to the Benefits Office by the 10th of the month, payroll deductions will begin the month following.

How Much Can I Contribute?

Contribution limits are based upon applicable federal and state tax laws. Currently, the annual maximum contribution allowed without incurring a federal gift tax is $11,000. The North Carolina allowable limit is also $11,000 per year without incurring a state gift tax (amounts are based on per beneficiary, per year).

You can change/stop your 529 deductions by completing a 529 Change Form and getting it to the University Benefits Office. We will change/stop the deduction on the next available payroll.

What Investment Choices Do I Have?

Several investment choices are available to help meet personal objectives, from conservative to aggressive. Once an account is opened, investment options may be changed once each year, or if the account beneficiary changes.

When Do Funds Become Accessible?

The Plan participant is the only individual authorized to make or direct account withdrawals and may do so at any time. Withdrawal categories include

  • Qualified withdrawals
  • Withdrawals due to the beneficiary's death, permanent disability, or receipt of scholarship
  • Non-qualified withdrawals
  • Rollovers

Note: Depending on the type of withdrawal, taxes and penalties may be applicable.