WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 30, 2015) – Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee considered S. 335, the companion bill to H.R. 529, which was passed with a bipartisan vote by the House of Representatives in February. Introduced by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Bob Casey (D-PA), the Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill 26-0.

The legislation will make 529 plans more flexible by making computers an eligible education expense; allowing the redeposit of college refunds without negative tax implications in certain circumstances and updating outdated accounting rules.

Betty Lochner, chair of the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN)—the nation’s leading objective source of information about Section 529 College Savings Plans and Prepaid Tuition Plans—issued the following statement:

“As American families look for new ways to make higher education more affordable and accessible, D.C. policymakers are taking an active role in enhancing and improving 529 college savings plans so that they are as useful, flexible, and convenient as possible.

H.R. 529 was passed with a bipartisan vote by the House of Representatives in February, and Congress is now working to get the companion bill, S. 335 passed by the Senate. Our nation’s lawmakers recognize how important it is to ensure that future students won’t be saddled with loan debt or financial hardships as a result of pursuing their dreams of higher education.

S. 335 provides crucial elements to help middle class families cope with the rising costs of college and take full-advantage of their savings so that they maximize the use of their funds for future higher education expenses.

With 12 million accounts open and nearly $250 billion invested, 529 college savings plans are a powerful tool that we want to see more American families utilize instead of student loans.

We thank the Senate Finance Committee for recognizing these common sense improvements to 529 plans. We particularly commend Senator Grassley for his diligence in getting S. 335 considered as quickly as possible, and look forward to seeing this important legislation passed by the full Senate.”