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Must the funds in a 529 plan be used for tuition only, or can they be used for room and board expenses?

Answer:

It depends on the state that sponsors the 529 plan, and whether you're talking about a prepaid tuition plan or a college savings plan. Under federal law, room and board costs are "qualified education expenses." But states aren't required to follow federal rules, and prepaid tuition plans typically won't allow 529 funds to be used for room and board expenses. Since most college savings plans follow federal rules, however, funds in a college savings plan can generally be used to pay for these costs as long as the student is enrolled in school on at least a half-time basis.

Room and board costs for students living on-campus are limited to the actual amount charged by the school or to the amount most residents are charged, whichever is higher. Room and board costs for students living off-campus, including students living with their parents, are limited to the amount the school decides is reasonable. Each state's plan will spell out the guidelines that govern room and board expenses and what procedures to follow when requesting a withdrawal.

Note: Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses associated with 529 plans before investing. More information about 529 plans is available in each issuer's official statement, which should be read carefully before investing. Also, before investing, consider whether your state offers a 529 plan that provides residents with favorable state tax benefits.

If you are investing in a 529 plan outside of your state of residence, you may lose available state tax benefits. Make sure you understand your state tax laws to get the most from your plan.

529 plans are subject to enrollment, maintenance, administration/management fees and expenses. 529 plans are subject to fluctuation in value and market rise, including loss of principal.

Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of 529 plans carefully before purchasing. More information about 529 plans can be found in the issuer's official statement. Please read the official statement carefully before investing.

Please be advised that this material is not intended as legal or tax advice. Accordingly, any tax information provided in this material is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The tax information was written to support the promotion or marketing of the transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed and you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent advisor.

Information provided has been prepared from sources and data we believe to be accurate, but we make no representation as to its accuracy or completeness. Data and information is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended for solicitation or trading purposes. Please consult your tax and legal advisors regarding your individual situation. Neither AXA Equitable nor any of the data provided by AXA Equitable or its content providers, such as Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc., shall be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for the actions taken in reliance therein. By accessing the AXA Equitable website, a user agrees to abide by the terms and conditions of the site including not redistributing the information found therein.

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY). Securities are offered through AXA Advisors, LLC, NY, NY 212-314-4600 (member FINRA / SIPC). AXA Equitable and AXA Advisors are affiliated companies, do not provide legal or tax advice and are not affiliated with Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.

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GE 5226512/31/2009