Personal Resource Center

How to Maximize College Savings

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The IRS doesn't have a cap for contributions to a 529 plan, but state contribution limits range from $235,000 to $550,000 per beneficiary.


Choosing a 529 Plan

Choosing a 529 plan can seem complicated. After all, you can enroll in a program operated by your state or by another state.

For some parents, state income tax benefits are a big factor in whether they invest in their in-state plan or go elsewhere.

To make the decision easier, savingforcollege.com breaks down various tax deductions and other important categories that might work best for you.10 It's important to research because not all 529 savings plans are the same.

Another thing to consider, if your state's tax benefits are greater than the additional fees for your state-sponsored plan (compared to a plan you're considering in another state), you could benefit from staying in-state. Otherwise, you may want to look around for a plan that offers more investment options or lower fees.

In some cases, families might consider opening more than one account for the same child. A child can be a beneficiary of multiple 529 plan accounts.11 In fact, if both parents and grandparents want to contribute to the account, and they live in different states, the family might consider setting up plans in different states to maximize tax breaks in each state.

Having plans in two different states can also allow you to save more. Each state's contribution limit applies to the balance of all 529 plans administered by that state for the same beneficiary. For example, if a family has already maxed out the $350,000 contribution limit for one child in Tennessee, they can open a new account in South Carolina and contribute up to the $540,000 limit in that state.5

Once you pick a plan, opening the account is usually a pretty simple process. If you need help making sense of different plans or opening a 529 plan account, Synovus can help. Give us a call at 1-888-SYNOVUS (1-888-796-6887) to start the college savings conversation.

Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. Sallie Mae, “How America Pays for College 2023," accessed April 5, 2024. Back
  2. College Board, “Trends in College Pricing," accessed April 5, 2024. Back
  3. IRS.gov, “Tax Benefits for Education," updated 2023. Accessed April 5, 2024. Back
  4. CalcXML.com, "What are the advantages of a 529 college savings plan?" accessed April 5, 2024. Back
  5. Matthew Toner, “How Much is your State’s 529 Tax Deduction Really Worth?," SavingforCollege.com, updated November 26, 2023. Accessed April 5, 2024. Back
  6. Kathryn Flynn, “Maximum 529 Plan Contribution Limits byState," SavingforCollege.com, updated February 29, 2024. Accessed April 5, 2024. Back
  7. IRS.gov, “Frequently Asked Questions on Gift Taxes," updated November 23, 2023. Accessed April 5, 2024. Back
  8. IRS.gov, “Form 709," accessed April 5, 2024. Back
  9. Joseph Hurley, “10 Rules for Superfunding a 529 Plan," SavingforCollege.com, updated March 15, 2024. Accessed April 5, 2024. Back
  10. Mark Kantrowitz, “How to Choose the Best 529 Plan for You," Savingforcollege.com, published December 14, 2023. Accessed April 5, 2024. Back
  11. Kathryn Flynn, “Maximum 529 Plan Contribution Limits by State," Savingforcollege.com updated February 24, 2024. Accessed April 5, 2024. Back
  12. 529 College Savings Plan investments are offered through Synovus Securities, Inc. Information, including fees, expenses and sales charges on the particular plan you have selected, is available in the offering circular or official statement provided by the plan sponsor. Please read the information carefully prior to investing. Back