Higher Education Expenses
Your beneficiary must complete a Payment Request form to access BEST units for tuition, other qualified higher education expenses and for scholarship refunds.
Payment Request forms can be accessed through our website at www.tnbest.com. You may also call to request one by mail in advance of each academic term as long as there is an available balance on his/her BEST contract.
The form is due by July 15th for the fall semester, December 15th for the spring semester, or 30 days BEFORE the school bill is due. Forms can be faxed to BEST at 615-401-6816 or mailed to: Tennessee's BEST Prepaid Plan, P. O. Box 198786, Nashville, TN 37219-8786.
*Late Notice Fee
A $25 fee may be charged for each month a child is late in notifying BEST of their intent to use units for a particular academic term. The child must notify BEST at least 30 days prior to the start of any term.
** BEST is not responsible for late payments to schools and/or late fees when we receive your form after our deadline.
- When/How the School (s) Will be Paid
For beneficiaries attending a Tennessee public four-year universities and/or Tennessee two-year technical and community colleges:
After receiving your Payment Request Form, BEST will send you a "school certification" letter that states the current value of the BEST funds you have requested for use in the current term. You should mail this letter to the public institution you will be attending at the address listed in the school registration and payment materials. If completing the registration process in person, present the letter to the appropriate department (bursar, grant/scholarship administrator, etc.) as proof of BEST funds availability. The institution must have the letter for you to use BEST funds for payment.
BEST will be billed by the university/college after the final drop/add date for the appropriate amount due not to exceed the amount you requested on your Payment Request Form. BEST will pay the invoice directly to the university. If additional funds are required to complete the registration process, you will need to be prepared to pay the additional funds at that time or have alternative resources, such as scholarships or loans, available.
- For beneficiaries attending private or out-of-state colleges and universities:
After receiving your Payment Request Form, BEST will issue payment directly to the university for the amount indicated on the Use Form. It is important for you to list the school's bill due date on the Payment Request Form so that your payment will be received by the university prior to registration.
- Payments to the purchaser or beneficiary for qualified higher educational expenses.
Payment may be made directly to the purchaser or beneficiary as an advance payment or as a reimbursement for qualified higher educational expenses. Qualified higher educational expenses are expenses such as tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for enrollment or attendance at an institution of higher education. They also include the reasonable costs of room and board for a designated beneficiary who is at least a half-time student. BEST is obligated to report any disbursement from the BEST account to the Internal Revenue Service. An advance payment or reimbursement for a qualified higher educational expense may only be made to the purchaser or beneficiary. The recipient of the payment will also be the recipient of a 1099Q form. Please retain all receipts for your records. Please refer to the Internal Revenue Service Publication 970 for information regarding tax treatment of distributions from your BEST account.
- Scholarship Refunds
After receiving the Payment Request Form and documentation of the scholarship, waiver, or similar subsidy, BEST will issue a check directly to the refund recipient for the requested amount. A scholarship refund will be processed based on the current BEST policy provisions. There are many hurdles throughout your academic career such as scholarship uncertainty due to grade restrictions, changing schools, or a desire to pursue graduate courses. For these reasons, seriously consider retaining the funds in your BEST account rather than requesting a total refund. The BEST funds in your account will continue to increase in value. If desired, you may transfer tuition units to another family member to apply toward higher education costs.