3. Start early when ready for distributions: Start as soon as school invoices are available, Marshall recommends. Often parents wait until the day before the tuition is due to request funds, but payment times may vary based on the university and the plan, she says. In Maryland, it can take up to 10 days after a claim form is submitted for the payment to be sent.
[Find out which colleges have frozen tuition for fall 2013.]
The biggest mistake she sees is parents paying tuition with a student loan and then requesting reimbursement; 529 plans cannot be used to repay student loans, only eligible education expenses, she notes.
Trying to fund your education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.