November 1, 2022

I filled with pride when my daughter became a first-time parent, but then it hit me: I was now a grandparent. I started to question what this role would look like, and I realized it was actually quite simple. I wanted to be a sound system of support and knew a 529 account was one way I could accomplish this. These education-savings accounts offer flexibility, control and tax advantages, while also sending the message that I believe in my grandchildren’s dreams.

Let’s take a deeper look at how these accounts can help support the littles in your life – with benefits for you, too!


Most states’ 529 savings plans allow your grandchildren to attend any accredited education program around the country and abroad, meaning they do not need to reside in the same state as you, nor do they need to attend school in your state or their own. Whether they choose to pursue a trade school, apprenticeship program, four-year degree or other eligible option, the funds in a 529 account can support those education dreams.


No matter the age of your grandchild, the money in a 529 account is always yours to spend how, when and where you’d like. What if your grandchild decides to take a gap year? Keep the money in their account while they plan next-steps. What if your grandchild receives a tuition scholarship? Transfer the funds to another grandchild or use it to pay for other qualified expenses. These decisions are yours to make.

Tax Advantages

It’s not all about the grandchildren; there are benefits for you, too! Check out your state’s plan first to see if they offer specific tax breaks for residents, such as a tax deduction or credit. No matter which plan you choose, the earnings in a 529 account grow federally tax-free and will not be taxed at the federal level if used for qualified expenses.


When you support your grandchildren’s dreams, you’re telling them, “I believe in you and I want to support your dreams.” This can go a long way for the confidence of a young child or aspiring student. So, what if, instead of items that will be here today and gone tomorrow, you invest in their future?

Start by researching your options and opening a 529 education-savings account. Your grandchildren will be glad you did!

Michael L. Fitzgerald

State Treasurer of Iowa

About the Author: Iowa State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald is the past chair of the College Savings Plans Network and the administrator of Iowa’s 529 Education Savings Programs, College Savings Iowa and the IAdvisor 529 Plan, with over $6 billion invested and more than $4.5 billion in qualified withdrawals.