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Upton, Spanberger Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Allow Students & Workers to Use 529 Savings Plans to Pay for Training & Credentialing Programs

The Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act Would Give Students & Workers the Freedom to Use Their 529 Savings Plans to Cover Workforce Training, Certification, & Credentialing Program Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) today led the reintroduction of a bipartisan, bicameral bill to help more students and workers afford high-quality workforce training and credentialing programs.

The Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would give individuals in Michigan and across the country the freedom to use their “529” savings plans to cover the costs of certain workforce training and credentialing programs. Additionally, the bill would allow students to use their 529 funds to pay for associated costs related to certification exams and maintenance of certification credentials. Right now, only colleges, vocational schools, universities, or other post-secondary institutions are considered an eligible 529 education savings plan expense.

“The bipartisan Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act aims to help students in southwest Michigan and across the country access opportunities to develop the necessary skills today to succeed in tomorrow’s workforce,” said Upton. “As the country looks toward a robust economic recovery, we need skilled talent. This legislation will help make that happen.”  

“Especially as we rebuild our economy in the wake of COVID-19, we need to make sure Central Virginia students and workers receive the training required to remain competitive and successful. 529 savings plans have long ensured that the next generation of Virginia workers can afford a higher education — but students are currently constrained from using these accounts to pay for necessary credentialing programs and exams,” said Spanberger. “Our bipartisan, bicameral legislation would give Virginia students and workers the ability to use their 529 plans to cover tuition, books, and testing costs related to these training programs. I’m proud to stand alongside Representatives Upton, Phillips, and Wittman in reintroducing this commonsense bill — and I’d like to thank Senators Klobuchar and Braun for leading this effort in the U.S. Senate. As we watch incredibly specialized trades emerge across our area, I’ll keep working to make these programs more affordable and accessible.”

According to the National Skills Coalition, middle-skill jobs — which require more than a high school education but not a bachelor’s degree — comprise the largest component of America’s labor market. However, key industries cannot find adequately-trained workers to fill these jobs.

Specifically, the bipartisan Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would amend current law to allow workers and students to use their 529 plans to pay for training or credentialing programs recognized by a state government or the federal government — or widely recognized as providing reputable credentials in the occupation. Simultaneously, the bill would maintain the current allowable uses for 529 plan expenses — such as colleges and vocational schools.

A companion bill in the U.S. Senate is led by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Braun (R-IN).

Click here to read the full bill text.

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