Other College Savings Options | American Funds

College Savings

Other College Savings Options

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and UGMA/UTMA accounts are available for college saving, in addition to 529s. Work with your financial professional to better understand your options and decide which ones may be appropriate for you.

Coverdell Education Savings Account

These accounts can play an important role in helping pay for a child’s qualified elementary, secondary and higher education expenses. Please note that the information provided in the table is for the 2019 tax year.


You can contribute to a Coverdell Education Savings Account even if you don’t have earned income. Contributions are made with after-tax dollars, and you cannot take a deduction for the contribution. Your contribution is limited to $2,000 per year per child until the child reaches the age of 18. Contributions are phased out as your adjusted gross income increases from $190,000 to $220,000 for married couples filing jointly and from $95,000 to $110,000 for individuals.

Income Tax Treatment

Earnings grow tax-free.


Withdrawals used for qualified education expenses — such as tuition, books, computers, peripherals, software, internet access, and room and board for kindergarten through high school, college and graduate school — are free from federal income tax.

If any balance remains in the account after all education expenses are paid for, the account can be rolled over to another Coverdell Education Savings Account for another eligible family member. If the beneficiary, also called the recipient, reaches age 30 and the balance has not been rolled over, the account balance must be distributed as ordinary income, with income taxes and a 10% penalty on earnings due.

Withdrawals for non-education expenses may be subject to federal income tax and a 10% federal tax penalty on earnings.

Credits/Qualified Tuition Program

The beneficiary can claim an American Opportunity Tax Credit (formerly known as the HOPE Scholarship Credit) or a Lifetime Learning Credit and take a qualified distribution from a Coverdell Education Savings Account in the same year as long as the amounts are used to pay for different educational purposes.

Contributions can be made to a Coverdell Education Savings Account and to a qualified tuition program for the same beneficiary in the same tax year as long as the amounts are used to pay for different educational purposes.


The Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) allow you to take advantage of the lower tax rate for children while saving for education. Please note that the information provided in the table is for the 2019 tax year.


Anyone can give up to $15,000 per child each year free of gift tax consequences ($30,000 for married couples).* Because contributions are made with after-tax dollars, a deduction cannot be taken. Your child doesn’t gain control of the money until he or she reaches the age of majority (18 or 21 in most states).

Income Tax Treatment

For children under age 19 and full-time students under age 24 whose earned income is less than one-half of their support, the first $1,100 of earnings is tax-free. Earnings between $1,100 and $2,200 are taxed at the child’s rate; earnings above $2,200 are taxed at the parents’ rate.

Other Considerations

There are two things to consider when evaluating UGMAs and UTMAs:

  • Once you’ve given the money away, you cannot get it back for your own use.
  • Once a child reaches the age of majority, he or she is entitled to the account.

*The amount is indexed for inflation and may increase over time.

Investments are not FDIC-insured, nor are they deposits of or guaranteed by a bank or any other entity, so they may lose value.

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses, which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing. 

This content, developed by Capital Group, home of American Funds, should not be used as a primary basis for investment decisions and is not intended to serve as impartial investment or fiduciary advice.