529 Plans

Investing for K–12 goals

The Vanguard 529 Plan's investment choices aren't limited to investing for higher education. You can use our Target Enrollment or individual portfolios to save for K–12 expenses too.

Open a Vanguard 529 account

Important considerations when investing for K–12

While our 529 investment options easily adapt to K–12 saving, it's important to keep in mind the following considerations as you plan your goals:

To pay for the K–12 years, you could be withdrawing money from your 529 plan over a longer period than the 4 years typically needed to graduate from college.

You'll have fewer years to save for a K–12 education because the enrollment period begins much sooner than it does for college.

3 tips for choosing your K–12 investments

  • Determine when you'll need the money to pay for tuition expenses.
  • Choose your investments based on your risk comfort level and when you'll need to start withdrawing portions for tuition expenses.
  • If you choose an individual portfolio rather than a Target Enrollment Portfolio, revisit your asset allocation each year to see if your risk tolerance and time horizon are the same. Reallocate your investments, if necessary.

Don't forget to review your investments

Whether you choose a portfolio that adjusts on its own, or you use a do-it-yourself strategy, you should review your portfolio regularly to make sure it's still in line with your goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. You may want to consider annual reviews as you get close to making tuition payments since you could be taking money out more frequently for K–12 expenses.

What if I'm saving for separate goals?

Let's say you have $100 to invest—$75 for college and $25 for high school. Here are 2 possibilities:

Consider splitting your investment into 2 separate Vanguard Target Enrollment Portfolios, and let the portfolio adjust for you automatically as you reach your enrollment date.

  • $75 in a Target Enrollment Portfolio closest to the expected year your student will enter college.
  • $25 in a Target Enrollment Portfolio closest to when your child will enter high school.

See the Vanguard Target Enrollment Portfolios

Choose your own strategy and invest the money among Vanguard individual 529 portfolios. There are 2 ways to select individual portfolios for your Vanguard 529 account:

  • If you prefer a fund with a mix of investments, consider one of the several multifund individual portfolios that may be suited to the particular time frame you have for meeting K–12 tuition expenses.

See the Vanguard 529 individual portfolios appropriate for K–12 investing

  • If you want to build your own portfolio, select from over 30 of our plan's individual 529 portfolios, which cover all the major asset classes. When using your own strategy, you can choose up to 5 investment options per beneficiary to save for either higher education or K–12 tuition.

See The Vanguard 529 individual portfolios

Want to roll over money you have in another 529 plan?

Learn how to move money to The Vanguard 529 Plan

Related options

Use our college savings planner to see if you'll have enough for college

We're here to help

Talk with one of our education savings specialists.

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Eastern time

Open a Vanguard 529 plan

We're here to help

Talk with one of our education savings specialists.

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Eastern time

Open a Vanguard 529 plan

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

For more information about The Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan, obtain a Program Description (PDF), which includes investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information; read and consider it carefully before investing. Vanguard Marketing Corporation, Distributor.

Vanguard Income Portfolio and Vanguard Interest Accumulation Portfolio both invest in Vanguard Short-Term Reserves Account which, in turn, invests in Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund. Vanguard Short-Term Reserves Account's investment in Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although the fund seeks to preserve the value of the investment at $1 per share, it is possible that Vanguard Short-Term Reserves Account may lose money by investing in the fund.

If you are not a Nevada taxpayer, consider before investing whether your or the designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's qualified tuition program. Other state benefits may include financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors.

State tax treatment of K–12 withdrawals is determined by the state(s) where the taxpayer files state income tax. Please consult with a tax advisor for further guidance.

The Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan is a Nevada Trust administered by the Board of Trustees of the College Savings Plans of Nevada, chaired by the Nevada State Treasurer.

The Vanguard Group, Inc., serves as the Investment Manager for The Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan and through its affiliate, Vanguard Marketing Corporation, markets and distributes the Plan. Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, LLC, serves as Program Manager and has overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations. The Plan's portfolios, although they invest in Vanguard mutual funds, are not mutual funds. Investment returns are not guaranteed and you could lose money by investing in the Plan.