For several years now, computers have been a necessary piece of equipment for college. Professors assume college students have computers, and they're used for everything from taking notes and writing papers to submitting assignments and sitting for exams. It wasn't until December 18, though, that college students could use their college savings plan to purchase new computers. If you're a college student, here's why you may want to use the funds in your 529 savings plan to buy a computer that will last for years -- hopefully even beyond your graduation date.
College Students Get Deals on Computers
Like many other retailers, computer manufacturers often have sales on the laptops and desktops they make. Some of the best sales are back-to-school ones, which many manufacturers have over the summer.
To get an especially good deal on a computer, look for a model that has a year-old processor and is on sale over the summer. Most computer chipmakers release new processors in July, August and September, and many retailers offer discounts on models that have a previous-generation processor. These discounts are usually offered on top of back-to-school sale discounts.
529 Plans Have Restrictions
The money in your college savings plan must be spent on specific items that are directly necessary for school. Going on vacation over spring break doesn't count, unfortunately. If the savings in your 529 account are greater than your tuition bill, you'll have to find college-related expenses to spend the extra money one. A new computer, thanks to this new law, qualifies.
You May Not Have Money After Graduation for a Computer
After college, there's no guarantee that you'll have extra money to spend on a new computer. For example, you may have trouble finding a job after graduation, or you might decide to get married and put your money towards a wedding. If you purchase a good computer now that will last for a long time, you'll be freer to spend your money on living expenses, a wedding or other more important things after graduation.
If you're currently in school and have money in a college savings plan, look for a sale on a high-end computer. A good computer could last you well beyond college, especially if you only use it for word processing, email and browsing the internet. Buying a good one now, when you have the funds to purchase a computer, will ensure you have a good laptop or desktop that will last for a long time.