Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) Connecticut State Treasurer

About CHET

If you’re looking to take a deeper dive into the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET), this section includes just about everything from how the plan works to what you can do with it.

Thank you for considering the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET).

It’s never too early to prepare your child or grandchild for a successful future. No matter what their age — with the rising cost of tuition — the time to start is now.

The Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) is a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan that’s helping families and individuals plan for the cost of higher education. It’s available to any citizen or tax payer. And just about anyone can help contribute including Grandparents, other family members and friends.

It only takes about 15 minutes to open an account online and it is easy to manage. There are a variety of low-cost investment options to choose from including age-based, multi-fund, single-fund and guaranteed options.

A 529 college savings plan helps you save more over time. Any earnings grow free from federal tax, and many states offer a state income tax deduction or tax credit for contributions. Limitations apply. See the Disclosure Booklet for details. As a 529 Plan, CHET also offers certain gift and estate tax planning benefits; consult your tax advisor. And withdrawals are tax-free at both the federal and state level when used for qualified higher education expenses.

You can use the funds for a lot more than just tuition — including required fees, certain room and board costs, books, supplies, as well as computers and related technology costs such as Internet access fees and printers. Additional equipment required for attendance may also qualify. Funds can be used at most accredited colleges and universities in the United States — even certain colleges abroad.

If you’re worried about having the account in one state and attending school in another, don’t be. With most plans, your school choice is not affected by the state of your savings plan. You can be a resident of Connecticut and send your student to college in North Carolina.

This section provides a summary of information about CHET, but it’s important you read the full Disclosure Booklet for more detailed information.

About the Plan

CHET was created by the state of Connecticut as a tax-advantaged way to help people save for the cost of higher education.

To contact the plan:

CALL
EMAIL
MAIL
1-888-799-2438

Monday - Friday
8:00AM to 8:00PM ET
Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET)
PO Box 150499
Hartford, CT 06115-0499
CALL
1-888-799-2438
EMAIL
MAIL
Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET)
30 Dan Road
Canton, MA 02021

Plan Management

CHET is administrated by the State of Connecticut, acting by and through the Connecticut 529 College Savings Board.

The Direct Plan Manager is TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing Incorporated, or TFI. TFI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (“TIAA”). TIAA, together with its companion organization, the College Retirement Equities Fund (“CREF”), forms one of America’s leading financial services organizations and one of the world’s largest pension systems, based on assets under management.

A financial services company with nearly 100 years’ experience, TIAA specializes in helping clients like you reach your financial goals — for retirement, saving for college, or providing protection for your loved ones. It’s how we meet our commitment to helping you make financial well-being possible.

TFI and the Connecticut 529 College Savings Board entered into an agreement under which TFI provides certain services, including investment recommendations, recordkeeping, reporting and marketing.

Account Ownership & Beneficiary Eligibility

If you’re a U.S. citizen or resident alien with a valid Social Security number or taxpayer ID number, and you’re least 18 years of age, you’re eligible to open an account. Individuals opening an account may also designate a person to be the successor Account Owner in the event of their death.

Additionally, certain types of entities with a valid taxpayer ID number such as a trust, an estate, or a corporation may also open an account*.

*Additional restrictions may apply, please refer to the Disclosure Booklet for details

The beneficiary is the future student. The beneficiary can be anyone with a valid Social Security or taxpayer identification number. Typically this would be your child, your grandchild, or yourself. You do not need to be related to the beneficiary, but there may only be one beneficiary per account. The only exceptions to this are entities establishing this as a general scholarship account.

Contributions

Minimum Contributions & Maximum Account Balance

You can open an account with as little as $25 dollars per investment option, or $15 dollars per pay period through payroll deduction.

Your maximum account balance per beneficiary for CHET is $300,000. Any contribution beyond this amount would be returned to you. In the event your account reaches this amount, it may continue to accrue earnings/interest, though further contributions would be returned and not applied.

How to Make Contributions

One of the best aspects of CHET is that it’s easy to make contributions. There are many ways to add to the fund including:

  • A one-time electronic funds transfer
  • Recurring automatic fund transfer from a checking or savings account
  • Automatic payroll deduction
  • Rollover from another state’s 529 plan*
  • Proceeds from a Coverdell Education Savings Account*
  • Personal check, bank draft, cashier or teller’s check mailed to:
Standard Delivery Overnight Delivery Only
Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET)
PO Box 150499
Hartford, CT 06115-0499
Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET)
30 Dan Road
Canton, MA 02021
CHET cannot accept cash contributions, starter checks, traveler’s checks, credit cards, convenience checks and some other forms of payment.
STANDARD DELIVERY

Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET)
PO Box 55205
Hartford, CT 06115-0499

OVERNIGHT DELIVERY ONLY

Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET)
30 Dan Road
Canton, MA 02021

CHET cannot accept cash contributions, starter checks, traveler’s checks, credit cards, convenience checks and some other forms of payment.


*Be sure to consult with a qualified advisor regarding the possible legal and tax consequences associated with such changes.

Withdrawals

Only the account owner may make a withdrawal. You can request a withdrawal by mail, by phone, or from the plan’s website. Withdrawals may be made individually or systematically. You can pay the institution, send it directly to the beneficiary, or reimburse yourself. Be sure to keep all receipts to substantiate qualification.

Type of Withdrawals:

  • Qualified Withdrawals
    These are untaxed and include any withdrawals that will be used to cover Qualified Higher Education Expenses for the student at an Eligible Educational Institution. The student must be enrolled for at least half-time for room and board expenses.
  • Taxable Withdrawals
    The earnings portion of this type of withdrawal is taxed but don’t include any additional penalty. Say your child receives a full scholarship or attends a military academy. You could still use the money for school but earnings would be taxed. If your child receives a partial scholarship, a portion of your withdrawal equal to the amount of the scholarship would be taxed. The final example would be if the beneficiary dies or has a disability. None of these examples would be subject to a penalty.
  • Non-Qualified Withdrawals
    The earnings portion of this type of withdrawal can be taxed normally and also subject to a 10% additional federal penalty. Examples might include using the money for a car, vacation or home improvement. But even if you urgently need to pay a medical bill and withdraw money from your 529 plan as a last resort — it would still be taxed and penalized.

In the event of a refund of amounts paid for qualified higher education expenses from an eligible educational institution, the refund may be redeposit to the 529 plan within 60 days without penalty. The recontributed amount cannot exceed the amount of the refund.

Qualifying Expenses & Institutions

Qualified Higher Education Expenses may include tuition, certain room and board expenses in addition to any fees, books, supplies and equipment required for enrollment and attendance at an Eligible Education Institution. Computers and related technology such as internet access fees, software or printers are also qualified education expenses. The student must be the primary user of the equipment.

If the beneficiary is a special needs student, any additional costs required for enrollment or attendance to meet those needs will also be covered.

About Room and Board Expenses

Room & board costs are considered qualified only during the academic period in which the student is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a program that leads to a recognized educational credential. This amount cannot exceed the institution’s ‘cost of attendance’ allowance.

Funds can be used at most accredited colleges and universities in the United States — even certain colleges abroad.

See the Disclosure Booklet for more information.

Visit Ed.gov to find out if your school is accredited.

Investment Options

CHET provides a variety of professionally managed investments to choose from including age-based options that automatically change as the beneficiary ages. Alternatively you can tailor your Investment with multi-fund, single-fund and guaranteed options to match your risk tolerance, timeline, and investment preferences.

Tax Advantages

When you pay fewer taxes, you can earn more and grow your account faster — giving your child or grandchild an even bigger head start.

See the difference these tax advantages can make over time in the table below.

Benefits of Tax-Free Growth: Taxable = $46,788, Tax-Free = $54,958 over 18 years

This example assumes an initial investment of $5,000, monthly contributions of $100, and a 6% annual rate of return over 18 years. The taxable account assumes a 28% federal and 5% state tax rate. The illustration is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any specific Investment.

Federal Income Tax Benefits

As a 529 Plan, CHET offers unsurpassed income tax benefits. Although contributions are not deductible on your federal tax return, any investment earnings can grow tax-deferred, and distributions to pay for the beneficiary’s college costs come out federally tax-free.

Estate Tax Planning Benefits

There’s another tax advantage unique to the 529 plan. There’s no federal gift tax on contributions up to $14,000 per year for single filers and $28,000 for married filers. There’s even an option to gift amounts up to $70,000 for single filers and up to $140,000 for married filers if pro-rated over 5 years. This means you could make a one-time gift equivalent to the 5 year amount and it could all qualify for the federal gift tax exclusion. Consult your tax advisor.

State Income Tax Information

In addition to federal tax benefits, there are state tax benefits as well. For CHET, tax treatment is as follows:

Contributions are deductible for Connecticut income tax purposes up to $5,000 per year for a single return or $10,000 per year for a joint return. If you exceed this amount, you can carry over the excess amount for the five taxable years following the deduction. An incoming rollover from another qualified tuition program does not qualify as contribution for income tax purposes.

Earnings, Qualified Withdrawals and outgoing Rollovers are not subject to state income tax. Connecticut tax benefits related to CHET are available only to Connecticut tax payers. You should talk to a qualified advisor about how Connecticut tax provisions affect your circumstances.

Reviewing & Changing Your Investments

It’s a good idea to periodically re-evaluate your investment strategy as your goals, investment horizon, and personal situation change — for example annually at tax time, on a yearly basis if your income changes, or upon the birth of another child.

Fees & Expenses

There are no application fees, no cancellation fees, no change in beneficiary fees — only program management and underlying mutual fund fees.

Risks of Investing in the Plan

As with any investment, there are risks. To help you manage these risks there are flexible investment options ranging from conservative to aggressive. Assets in an account are not guaranteed or insured. The value of your account may decrease and you could lose money, including amounts contributed.

For more information about the risks involved in investing in a particular investment option, and whether or not an option is appropriate for you, read the Disclosure Booklet (PDF).

Making Changes to Your Account

It’s possible you might want or need to make changes to your account. Here's a quick summary of the types of changes you can make and what happens when you do:

Changing the Beneficiary

After you open an account you can change the beneficiary of the account to an eligible family member of the former beneficiary without adverse federal tax consequence. “Family member” includes not just immediate family but grandparents, aunts and uncles, step children, in laws...even first cousins. Otherwise, changes may be subject to federal income tax as well as other state and federal tax consequences. See the Disclosure Booklet (PDF) for more information.


Changing Investment Strategy

Anytime you make a new contribution, you may select a different investment for that amount. However, you may only change the previously contributed amount twice per year or when you change a beneficiary, and only then if it’s a member of the previous beneficiary’s family. If you have more than one account for the same beneficiary, this restriction applies to all accounts, so you’ll need to make all changes on the same calendar day. You make these changes by submitting the proper asset allocation instructions.


Adding or Changing a Successor Account Owner

You can add or change a successor account owner at any time by completing the appropriate form.*


Transferring Account Ownership

You may also transfer the ownership of your account to another individual or entity that is eligible to be an account owner. This is not the same as changing account successor. This would be when you want to irrevocably sign away all rights, title and interest in the account.*


*Be sure to consult with a qualified advisor regarding the possible legal and tax consequences associated with such changes.