529 Plans

I’m using a 529 Plan to pay for my Outdoor Programs course. What do I do?

STEP 1: MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED FOR COURSE CREDIT

Before 529 funding can be arranged for your course, you must be REGISTERED for credit for your program. If you have not completed and submitted your credit registration packet to outdoorprograms@western.edu, please go to your program page found in the links on this page, download and complete your registration forms and send them to our office. Once your registration is processed, you will receive a REGISTRATION CONFIRMATION EMAIL with all sorts of information, such as your student ID, assignments, and HOW TO PAY! Keep in mind that it takes our small, but powerful Outdoor Programs staff several business days to process and send your REGISTRATION CONFIRMATION so please, be patient. We are working very hard to assist you and quite a few others just like you at the same time!

Whew! Great...now that you have read all the fine print contained in your packet AND received your REGISTRATION CONFIRMATION EMAIL, arrangements for your 529 payment may be made with your financial institution.

STEP 2: REVIEW YOUR TOTAL COURSE INVOICE RECEIVED FROM WESTERN EXTENDED STUDIES

Within a few business days of receiving your credit registration confirmation, you will receive an invoice with your total due. This is the amount that has been approved for Western State Colorado University to process for your Outdoor Programs course credit and tuition. WAIT to initiate payment until you have received this invoice.

WHEN DO I NEED TO SUBMIT MY PAYMENT?

All registrations with requests to process 529 education funding must be received no later than 30 days before the outdoor program tuition payment deadline. Registrations with funding requests take 5-10 business days to process. Payment arrangement using 529 plan educational funding takes place AFTER you have received your registration confirmation by email from outdoorprograms@western.edu. DO NOT arrange with your financial institution to send a 529 payment to Western State Colorado University until AFTER you have received a registration confirmation and you have confirmed your exact amount due for course cost and credit with Dana M. Miller, Assistant Director of Extended Studies. All mismatched 529 Plan funding will delay payment processing to your Outdoor Program and is not guaranteed to be processed in a timely manner. AFTER you have received your registration confirmation, if you haven’t received an invoice within 3 business days, email dmmiller@western.edu to confirm your balance due and an invoice will be returned to you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Any registration with requests to process 529 educational funding received less than 30 days before the outdoor program tuition payment deadline is not guaranteed for timely funds processing. Students in this category must be prepared to pay their outdoor program up front. 529 course fee refund processing is available on a case-by-case basis and can take 6-10 weeks to process.

STEP 3: ARRANGE YOUR 529 PAYMENT

HOW DO I SUBMIT MY 529 FUNDS TO WESTERN?

Contact your 529 plan to find out your plan’s procedure for releasing funds.

  1. Does your fund need a student ID before processing payment?
  2. Does your fund need an invoice from Western in order to process a withdrawal?
  3. How does your fund send payment? Directly to you? By check to Western? By wire to Western?
  4. Do you plan on first withdrawing your funds and paying Western the program tuition in addition to Western credit using a personal credit card (Note: Credit card course fee option processed by Western is only available for previously withdrawn 529 funds. If you plan on being refunded by your plan, you must pay Western and your program separately and then notify Dana Miller, dmmiller@western.edu, of your payment intention).

HOW MUCH MONEY DO I SEND TO WESTERN?

Please send the amount equal to your invoice due to your program plus your credit cost due to Western State Colorado University. For NOLS Expedition students, do not include any “Optional Credit Cost”. This is not Western credit. IMPORTANT: You must confirm your Grand Total amount with our office before initiating payment. This confirmation comes in the form of your course and credit invoice from Western Extended Studies.

HOW DOES WESTERN RECEIVE 529 PAYMENT?

We receive 529 payments three different ways. The bank at which your 529 fund is located will send us a check directly, they will wire the funds to Western, or they will send funds directly to you. If your bank sends funds to you, you may either mail a personal check to Western or pay us directly by credit card once registration is complete.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

If you are planning to pay for your Outdoor Program course fee and Western credit in one payment with a credit card, this is only possible if you are using previously withdrawn 529 funding. DO NOT call the Cashier’s Office until you have requested this arrangement by notifying Dana Miller with an email to dmmiller@western.edu of your intention so this billing may be set up in your account. This arrangement takes several business days to complete. You will receive notice by email confirming when your account is ready to receive payment.

Some funds need an invoice in order to disburse payment.  If you are paying with a 529 fund, an invoice will be sent to you within 2-3 business days after registration is complete. If your fund is one that Western needs to bill, please notify Dana Miller directly at dmmiller@western.edu.

529 Plan check payments are to be made out to: Western State Colorado University. Include your name and Western Student ID# as identification for the payment. Mail to Extended Studies, Taylor 303, 600 N Adams St, Gunnison, CO 81231​

HOW DOES WESTERN PROCESS 529 PAYMENT?

Once we receive the 529 funds at Western, we will retain the credit cost and forward the remaining amount to your outdoor program to cover your course cost. If you still have a remaining balance due to the program after we have forwarded the remaining amount of your 529 payment to your outdoor program, it is your responsibility to pay any balance due to the program directly. Please keep in mind that the payment process may take several weeks depending on the start date of your course, so we recommend that you initiate the payment from your 529 fund upon receiving your course and credit invoice from Western Extended Studies. Due to institutional financial processing policies, Western only processes payments on Tuesdays of each week. Extended Studies is unable to expedite payments for this reason.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Once Western has processed 529 funds and sent tuition payment to your outdoor program, you will receive a payment confirmation letter along with a hard copy of a PAID IN FULL invoice in the mail within 2-4 weeks. The payment process is complete once you receive your confirmation letter.

If you have any questions concerning payment, please feel free to email a detailed question/situation to Dana M. Miller, Assistant Director Extended Studies at dmmiller@western.edu.  Please keep in mind that there is limited assistance available for a student who has not completed the credit registration process.

We appreciate the opportunity to serve you in your journey gaining education in an Outdoor Wilderness Education Program! 

Please note that there is no Financial Aid available for EXTENDED STUDIES OUTDOOR PROGRAMS through the main campus (FAFSA), although private student loans may be processed.