FAQs

What is a 529 college savings plan? »
What is John Hancock Freedom 529? »
What are some of the plan's major benefits? »
Who can participate in the plan? »
How are accounts structured? »
Can my spouse and I set up a joint account? »
Who can be a beneficiary? »
Can I change the beneficiary? »
Can the account holder be changed? »
How do I open an account? »
Who can contribute to an account? »
How much can I invest? »
Are contributions tax-deductible? »
How do I contribute to my account? »
What are my investment choices? »
Where can I receive performance information on the portfolios? »
Are any of the portfolios guaranteed? »
Can I change my portfolio selection? »
How can I use the money in my account? »
Can the account be used to pay for any college? »
Will participation in the plan affect my beneficiary's eligibility for financial aid? »
When can I take a distribution from my account? »
What if I do not use the money in my account for qualified education expenses? »
Is paying off a student loan a qualified expense? »
What if my beneficiary receives a scholarship? »
What if my beneficiary does not go to college? »
What if I move to another state? »
What are the fees? »
What are the federal income tax advantages? »
What are the gift and estate tax advantages of an account? »
I own a UGMA/UTMA account. Can I move those assets into a 529 savings plan? »

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What is a 529 college savings plan?
Named for Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, these plans help individuals and families save for higher education in a tax-advantaged way. Tax-deferred growth on earnings and federal income-tax-free distributions1 set 529 savings plans apart from other investment vehicles used to save for college.
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What is John Hancock Freedom 529?
John Hancock Freedom 529 is a 529 savings plan offered by the Education Trust of Alaska, managed by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., and distributed by John Hancock Distributors LLC, through other broker-dealers with whom John Hancock Distributors LLC has entered into a selling agreement. It is intended to be a "qualified tuition program" under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.
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What are some of the plan's major benefits?
  • A multi-managed platform
  • Diversification by asset class and investment style
  • Any account growth is tax-deferred
  • Distributions for qualified educational expenses are federal tax-free
  • Account holder maintains control over assets and distributions and
  • Gift and estate tax benefits.
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Who can participate in the plan?
Any U.S. citizen or resident alien can open an account, as can trusts, corporations, and other organizations. You are not restricted by age, income, or state of residence.
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How are accounts structured?
Only one person — the account holder — can open and control an account. If the account holder is a minor, the account must have a custodian to act on behalf of the minor. Each account may have only one beneficiary (future student), but you may open as many accounts for as many different beneficiaries as you want.
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Can my spouse and I set up a joint account?
Joint accounts are not permitted in this Plan. However, you and your spouse may each establish separate accounts for the same Beneficiary or you may both contribute to the same account.
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Who can be a beneficiary?
Any individual qualifies as a Beneficiary. The Beneficiary may be of any age but must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien. The Account Holder can be the Beneficiary.
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Can I change the beneficiary?
Yes, the account holder can change the beneficiary at any time. If the beneficiary is changed, the new beneficiary must be a member of the family of the current beneficiary, as defined by the Internal Revenue Code.
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Can the account holder be changed?
Generally, yes. However, special rules may apply for accounts with custodians. You may also name a successor account holder who takes over for you in the event of your death or legal incompetence. Since a change of account holder could have tax consequences, you may want to check with a tax advisor.
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How do I open an account?
Simply complete the New Account Agreement provided to you by your financial consultant or your human resources department if investing with payroll deduction. When you establish an account, you must name a Beneficiary. The minimum contribution required to open an account is $1,000 per portfolio. This minimum is reduced to $50 per portfolio if investing systematically on a monthly basis through Automatic Purchase or payroll deduction ($25 per paycheck if using payroll deduction and paid twice per month). The minimum subsequent contribution is $50 per portfolio.
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Who can contribute to an account?
Anyone can contribute, not just the account holder.
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How much can I invest?
You can invest until the combined account balances for a beneficiary reach $400,000. It is acceptable for earnings (but not contributions) to cause the total account value to go over this amount. This maximum may or may not cover all of your beneficiary's college expenses.
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Are contributions tax-deductible?
Not at the federal level; state income tax treatment varies.
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How do I contribute to my account?
  • Check or money order;
  • Electronic fund transfer from your financial institution account;
  • By investing systematically through the automatic purchase program or, if applicable, payroll deduction program;
  • By rollover from another qualified tuition program (529 plan), Coverdell Education Savings Account, or qualified U.S. Savings Bond; and/or
  • By moving money from UGMA/UTMA accounts.
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What are my investment choices?
The plan offers 22 portfolios representing four investment strategies.
  • Enrollment-Based Portfolios
  • Static Portfolios
  • Lifestyle Portfolios
  • Individual Portfolios
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Where can I receive performance information on the portfolios?
You can receive performance information by clicking here, or you can call 866-222-7498.
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Are any of the portfolios guaranteed?
Your account value is never guaranteed, so you could lose money (including your contributions) or not make money by investing in the plan. The JH Money Market Portfolio is not guaranteed; however, it is managed to preserve your investment principal. An investment in the Money Market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency and there is no assurance that a $1.00 share price will be maintained. An investment in the Fund Investment return and principal value will fluctuate so that an investor's share when redeemed may be worth more or less than their original cost.
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Can I change my portfolio selection?
Each time you make a contribution you may select a different portfolio. In addition, changes to your existing investments for a particular beneficiary are permitted once per calendar year and any time upon a change in the beneficiary. If you are contributing via payroll deduction and wish to change the direction of your contributions or add an investment option after an account has been set up, please contact John Hancock Freedom 529 at 866-222-7498.
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How can I use the money in my account?
Your account balance can be used for any purpose. However, to receive the full federal tax benefit, the money must be used for qualified education expenses of the Beneficiary at an eligible educational institution, as defined by the IRS.
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Can the account be used to pay for any college?
The account can be used for the beneficiary's attendance at any eligible institution of higher education that meets specific federal accreditation standards. These institutions include most four-year colleges and universities (both for undergraduate and graduate degrees), two-year institutions, proprietary and vocational schools, and some foreign schools that are eligible to participate in Financial Aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
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Will participation in the plan affect my beneficiary's eligibility for financial aid?
The treatment of investments in a 529 savings plan, such as this one, varies from school to school, but assets are typically not treated as assets of the student. However, any investment in a 529 plan may still affect a student's eligibility to get financial aid based on need. You should check with the schools you are considering regarding this issue.
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When can I take a distribution from my account?
You can request a distribution at any time.
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What if I do not use the money in my account for qualified education expenses?
If a distribution is not used for qualified expenses, any investment earnings will be subject to federal, and possibly state, income taxes, both at the rate of whomever receives the distribution. The distribution may also be assessed a 10% federal penalty tax on any earnings.
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Is paying off a student loan a qualified expense?
No. Repayment of student loans is not considered a qualified education expense.
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What if my beneficiary receives a scholarship?
There are a number of options for your account if your beneficiary earns a scholarship.
  • You may use the account to pay for education expenses that are not covered by the scholarship.
  • You may take a distribution from your account in an amount up to the amount of the scholarship without incurring a penalty tax; however, you may be subject to federal and state income taxes.
  • You may leave the money in the account for use at a future date, such as for an advanced degree.
  • You may change the beneficiary to another member of the current beneficiary's family.
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What if my beneficiary does not go to college?
If your planned beneficiary does not go to college, you have three options:
  • Leave the money in the account in case the beneficiary subsequently decides to attend college;
  • Leave the money in the account and select a new beneficiary;
  • Take a distribution from your account and pay both the 10% federal penalty and income taxes on your earnings.
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What if I move to another state?
There are no residency requirements for the plan, so you can maintain your account and continue to make contributions.
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What are the fees?
There are asset-based fees, sales charges and an annual account maintenance fee. The annual asset-based fees include the annual program fee, as well as the expenses of the underlying mutual funds in which each investment option invests. For additional information on the annual asset-based fees, please refer to the Plan Disclosure Document.

The annual account maintenance fee is $25. It is waived if:
  • you are contributing through the Automatic Purchase program;
  • the combined account balance for a Beneficiary is $25,000 or more;
  • the combined Account Holder's total balance (regardless of Beneficiary) is $75,000 or more;
  • you are electing to receive electronic delivery of account statements and confirmations; or
  • you are investing through a financial intermediary that maintains your account in an omnibus account.
If your client has more than one account for the same Beneficiary, the annual account maintenance fee will be prorated across all of these accounts.

If your client is investing through payroll deduction, the annual account maintenance fee is $15 and is waived if the combined Account Holder?s balance for a Beneficiary is $6,000 or more, or the combined total account balance (regardless of Beneficiary) is $75,000 or more.
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What are the federal income tax advantages?
Any earnings on the money you invest in your account will grow tax-deferred until they are distributed. All qualified distributions for education expenses will be exempt from federal income tax. (Earnings on non-qualified distributions will be subject to income tax and a 10% federal penalty.) Please note that state income taxes may continue to apply. Depending upon the laws of the home state of the account holder or beneficiary, favorable state tax treatment or other benefits offered by that home state may be available only for investments in the home state's 529 college savings plan. If your state or your designated beneficiary's state offers a 529 plan, you should consider any state income tax or other benefits it offers before investing. For more information, please contact your financial consultant.
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What are the gift and estate tax advantages of an account?
Generally, gifts to an individual that exceed $14,000 in a single year are subject to the federal gift tax. However, for 529 plans, gifts up to $70,000 ($140,000 if married filing jointly) can be made in a single year for a beneficiary and averaged over five years to qualify for exclusion from the federal gift tax. If you die with money remaining in your account, it will not be included in your taxable estate for federal estate tax purposes. (However, there are exceptions should you die within five years of making the contributions that were gifts using the five-year rule noted above.)
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I own a UGMA/UTMA account. Can I move those assets into a 529 savings plan?
You can redeem assets from an UGMA/UTMA (Uniform Gift to Minors Act/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act) account, but you may be liable for income taxes on any gains upon redemption. Once the UGMA/UTMA proceeds are used to contribute to a 529 plan, the minor of the UGMA/UTMA must be named both the Account Holder and the Beneficiary of the 529 Account and cannot be changed. For more information, please consult your financial consultant.

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State tax laws and treatment may vary. Earnings on non-qualified distributions will be subject to income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax. Please consult your tax advisor for more information. Comments on taxation are based on John Hancock’s understanding of current tax law, which is subject to change. Please consult your tax advisor for guidelines specific to your situation.

John Hancock Freedom 529 is distributed by John Hancock Distributors LLC, which is an affiliate of John Hancock Funds LLC, the distributor of John Hancock Investments.

If your state or your designated Beneficiary's state offers a 529 plan you may want to consider what, if any, potential state income tax or other benefits it offers, before investing. State tax or other benefits should be one of many factors to be considered prior to making an investment decision. Please consult with your financial, tax or other advisor about how these state benefits, if any, may apply to your specific circumstances. You may also contact your state 529 plan or any other 529 college savings plan to learn more about their features. Please contact your financial consultant or call 866-222-7498 to obtain a Plan Disclosure Document or prospectus for any of the underlying funds. The Plan Disclosure Document contains complete details on investment objectives, risks, fees, charges and expenses, as well as more information about municipal fund securities and the underlying investment companies that should be considered before investing. Please read the Plan Disclosure Document carefully prior to investing.

John Hancock Freedom 529 is a college savings plan offered by the Education Trust of Alaska, managed by T. Rowe Price, and distributed by John Hancock Distributors LLC through other broker/dealers that have a selling agreement with John Hancock Distributors LLC. John Hancock Distributors LLC is a member of FINRA and is listed with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB). © 2013-2014. John Hancock. All rights reserved.

529 plans are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not bank or state guaranteed.

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