I was given a rather large gift of money in the form of a 529 plan from my uncle. My mother thinks that if we do not use the entirety of it this year, we will have to claim it on our taxes and will, as such, lose money in grants from my college; I think she's right, and we asked my aunt--who is my financial manager--to tell my uncle to send the entire account to my college. He ended up sending about $3000 for this semester, which leaves about $5000 unpaid (and about $8000 left in the account). When we were sent the math as to how he calculated this amount, it included only tuition and fees; no room, no board, none of the various other things for which I am being charged. Given that my mom has already taken out loans for this year--with the entire account being used in mind--my family is understandably upset by the necessity of new loans.
I am simply wondering: are there specific things for which 529 plans can be used? I find it ridiculous that an education plan could not be used for room and board or for any school-related fee.
I would appreciate a prompt response, given that my mother is currently freaking out downstairs trying to figure out how much she needs to take out in new loans, and my aunt still has not returned my call.