- General Information
The BEST Prepaid 529 College Tuition Plan was established to allow parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and other interested parties to save for future college expenses by purchasing "tuition units" for a child based on the current weighted average tuition costs at Tennessee's four-year public universities. The "tuition units" grow in value as the weighted average tuition increases each academic year.
Each "tuition unit" purchased entitles the beneficiary, that is, the person for whom the units were purchased, to an amount equal to one percent (1%) of the current year's weighted average tuition at Tennessee's four-year public colleges and universities for a "normal" academic load (two (2) semesters with 15 credit hours each). So, if a parent or other interested party were to purchase 100 units, they would have paid for approximately one-year's average college tuition at a four-year college or university in Tennessee.
Because the BEST Prepaid Plan is a qualified tuition program under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, the increases in the value of these "tuition units" over time are federal income tax exempt so long as they are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.
When the child enrolls in college, the "tuition units" can be used to pay for qualified higher education costs at colleges and universities both inside and outside of Tennessee. They can also be used to cover the cost of books, mandatory fees, room and board, equipment or supplies required for attendance or enrollment, and computers and computer software (computers and computer software are for calendar years 2009 and 2010 only). The Guide to Using Tuition Units provides examples of the approximate number of units needed to cover tuition and mandatory fees and room and board at various public and private colleges and universities in the state of Tennessee.
The Purchaser (person who opens the account) or the Beneficiary (person for whom the units were purchased), must be a resident of Tennessee when the Prepaid College Tuition Plan contract is opened. If a family moves out of Tennessee after a child is enrolled in the plan, tuition units may still be purchased on behalf of the child, and the child will remain eligible for all plan benefits.
BEST Prepaid Plan investments are not backed by the full faith and credit of the State of Tennessee. Assets of the Prepaid College Tuition trust fund are preserved, invested and expended solely pursuant to and for the purposes set forth in the laws governing BEST. For more information about the plan, please review the Terms and Conditions information.